Tamandua (lesser anteater)

Southern Tamandua Latin Name: Tamandua tetradactyla Order: Pilosa Family: Myrmecophagidae Southern tamandua are also known as lesser anteaters (based on a comparison to Giant Anteaters) and collared anteaters/tamandua (due to their standard coloration of a dark patch of fur in a collar shape on their back). There is a second species of tamandua, the northern…

Prehensile-tailed Skink

The Prehensile tailed(PT) skink has many adaptations to discuss with visitors about their arboreal lifestyle. However, some individuals might have aggressive tendencies around their enclosure or breeding season. Presenting them on a perch can minimize those interactions. Limited breeding in captivity can impact availability of ambassadors.

Glass Lizard (aka Scheltopusik)

The scheltopusik is often overlooked as a snake, but is a great transition species for people afraid of snakes. Their sandy brown coloration and diamond shaped scales are excellent camouflage. They can be hissy and roll in hand, but can also mellow out and relax in hand. Like other reptiles, it needs a specific heat gradient and UVB.

Radiated Tortoise

Astrochelys radiata Order: Testudines Family: Testudinidae Radiated tortoises are the closest living relative of the Ploughshare tortoises, the most endangered tortoises in the world. Overview This striking species gives the perfect opportunity to talk about the unique biodiversity of Madagascar and the plight of endangered species across the globe. Radiated tortoises are personable and allow…

Florida Kingsnake

Latin Name: Lampropeltis getula floridiana Order: Squamata Family: Colubridae Considered an unofficial subspecies of kingsnake Overview Capron Park Zoo has been using a Florida Kingsnake as an Animal Ambassador for several years. It is an easily kept species that is forgiving of a variety of husbandry conditions, a good eater with a curious and non-aggressive…

Chuckwalla, Common

Chuckwalla are commonly used as ambassador animals in zoos. They are a hardy, generally docile and food-motivated lizard. As juveniles they may exhibit more active behavior during handling, but calm quickly with consistent handling. With their high food motivation as well as alert and curious demeanor, they are a great candidate for training and have been taught to station and target. Their unique physiological adaptations for their environment give an excellent educational topic in addition to some implications for their care. A desert species, they need low humidity and high heat/UV access in their habitat. Overall a versatile, excellent species for consideration as an animal ambassador.