Spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) are native to the forests of Southeastern Mexico and much of Central America where they live in large groups of 20 to 40 members. They have prehensile tails which act as a fifth limb and help them maneuver through the tree tops where they spend most of their time foraging for edible fruits and leaves. Females only have one baby every 2 to 4 years and this, combined with habitat loss, hunting, and capture for the pet trade, has made a decline in the species and they are currently listed as “endangered”. Average life expectancy for spider monkeys is 40-45 years old.
Prairie dogs (genus Cynomys) live on North America's prairies and open grasslands in a fraction of their former numbers. They construct underground burrows with defined nurseries, sleeping quarters, and even toilets. Their charismatic personality and cute appearance makes the prairie dog a popular exotic pet, but it is only legal to own them in certain states. They can be difficult pets to care for, requiring regular veterinary attention and a very specific diet. Each year, they go into a period called rut that can last for several months, in which their personalities can drastically change, often becoming defensive or even aggressive. They have sharp teeth and are capable of inflicting a bite that will warrant medical attention, and their scent glands produce a musky odor.
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.
Cougars have many other names, including mountain lion, puma, panther, catamount, and mountain cat, and they are very adaptable and wide-ranging cats throughout North and South America. They are not considered one of the “big cats” because they do not roar, but rather make soft purring noises when content. They are genetically similar to the domestic cat.
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.
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.
The grey wolf (aka timber wolf) is native to the wilderness and remote areas of North America, Eurasia, and North Africa. Their modern range in North America is mostly confined to Alaska and Canada, with populations also occurring in northern states. It is the largest extant member of the canine family, weighing 70-100 lbs. Their winter fur is long and bushy, and predominantly mottled gray in color, although nearly pure white, red, or brown to black also occur. Gray wolves howl to assemble the pack (usually before and after hunts), to pass on an alarm (particularly at a den site), to locate each other during a storm or in unfamiliar territory, and to communicate across great distances. Wolf howls can, under certain conditions, be heard over areas of up to 50 square miles but are generally indistinguishable from those of large dogs. The gray wolf is a habitat generalist, and can occur in deserts, grasslands, forests, or arctic tundra and generally specializes in vulnerable individuals of large prey.
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
Please Don't Forget the Animals: These are very difficult times for everyone. We are experiencing a simultaneous drop in both animal food donations and financial support. Please remember that our rescued animals rely on all of us for their well-being, and are totally dependent on humans to help care for them. The Animals of Noah’s Ark will be forever grateful for whatever support you can provide. Thank you!