Did you know that a bison's tongue is blue? Noah's Ark is home to bison, cows, and beefalos (bison-cow hybrids), all part of the "bovine" family, who came from various situations. Some were saved from slaughter, some were surrendered pets, and some, like our beefalo, were "accidentally" born at the sanctuary. They all share the 80 acre pasture with the horses and other livestock and love wading in the pond during the hot Georgia summer.
Genets (genus Genetta), are small nocturnal mammals native to Africa and parts of Southern Europe where they dine on anything from mice to bats. They are extremely agile creatures and like their cousins the civets, they have strong smelling musk glands. Because of their beauty, genets have become popular on the exotic pet trade although their flighty nature, ability to escape anything their head can fit through, sharp teeth, and powerful musk glands make them less than ideal pets.
Bengal tigers are native to parts of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan and because of habitat loss and poaching, they have a conservation status of endangered. They weigh 300-500 lbs and live to be roughly 20 years old in captivity.
The ostrich is the largest bird in the world, weighing on average 140-340 lbs and standing at 6-9 feet tall. The female ostrich lays her eggs in a single communal nest, a simple pit that is scraped out in the ground by the male. The dominant female lays her eggs first, and when it is time to cover them for incubation she discards extra eggs from the weaker females. A female ostrich can distinguish her own eggs from the others in a communal nest. Ostrich eggs are the largest of all eggs although though they are actually the smallest eggs relative to the size of the adult bird — on average they weigh 3 lbs. The females incubate the eggs by day and by the males by night. This uses the coloration of the two sexes to escape detection of the nest, as the drab female blends in with the sand, while the black male is nearly undetectable in the night.
White handed gibbons (Hylobates lar) are found in Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand. Gibbons are true brachiators, propelling themselves through the forest by swinging under the branches using their arms. Reflecting this mode of locomotion, the white-handed gibbon has curved fingers, elongated hands, extremely long arms, and relatively short legs. In the wild, they will eat a large variety of foods, including figs and other small, sweet fruits, as well as young leaves, buds, insects, and even birds' eggs. White handed gibbons are threatened in various ways: they are sometimes hunted for their meat, sometimes a parent is killed to capture young animals for pets, but the loss of habitat is the most serious threat to wild populations. They are very territorial primates and ward off intruders by singing loudly with their mate.
Wolf-dog hybrids are a mixture of genetic traits, which results in less predictable behavioral patterns compared to either the wolf or dog. A wolf’s behavior is typically more socially shy and timid toward humans than that of a dog and sadly, wolfdogs are perhaps the most misunderstood and mismanaged animals in America. Wolfdogs also pose significant behavioral challenges for owners, many of whom are unable or unwilling to meet them, which is creating a large population of unwanted animals who wind up abandoned or chained in backyards. Wolfdogs may display any or all of these behaviors to one degree or another, including high-level curiosity, a drive to roam, a propensity toward den-building, territory marking and digging, and a strong predatory instinct. For these reasons, they do not make good family pets and are illegal in many states.
The grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), a sub species of the brown bear, lives in a wide variety of habitats throughout Western North America including coast lines, dense forests, sub-alpine meadows, and even the arctic tundra. These large omnivores get their name from the "grizzled" look of their fur: the long guard hairs along their backs and shoulders usually have lighter colored tips, giving the bears a "grizzled" appearance. The roughly 500-850 pound males are much larger than the 200-450 pound females, who do all the cub raising after giving birth to a litter of 1-4 one pound cubs in January or February. The cubs stay with their mother for up to three years as they learn crucial survival and social skills, and on average can live to be 20-30 years old. They are considered a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act because of human encroachment and destruction of their natural habitat. This can lead to unexpected human- bear encounters, which more often than not ends badly for both the bear and the human.
Baloo the American black bear (Ursus americanus), Leo the African lion (Panthera leo), and Shere Khan the Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris); known as "The BLT" came to Noah's Ark in 2001 after they were discovered by police officers in a basement of an Atlanta home during a drug raid. At only a few months old, all three cubs were frightened, malnourished, and infected with internal and external parasites when the Georgia Department of Natural Resources brought them to Noah’s Ark.
Did you know that Noah's Ark is home to over 50 reptiles, from tiny snakes to massive alligators? Although certain species of reptile can be good companions for the right person, many species of reptile should not be kept as pets. Those animals include giant pythons, venomous snakes, giant tortoises, and large lizards such as monitors and crocodilians. Our rule of thumb at Noah's Ark is "if you can't buy a cage it can live in forever, or if it will outlive you, then you probably shouldn't own it". We have to turn so many reptiles away each year simply because we don't have the resources to care for them and although some people don't love our cold-blooded friends as much as we do, all animals need respect, compassion, and protection!
Picnic/Playground/Visitor's Center: Tues - Sat: 9 am - 4 pm