Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae Overview To maximize lifelong welfare of an owl that is going to participate in ambassador animal programs, and as such be exposed to close contact with humans and a variety of stimuli that could otherwise be intimidating or inducive of unavoidable stress, it is recommended to hand-rear…

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl Aegolius acadicus Order: Strigiformes Family: Tytonidae Overview While many facilities recommend saw-whet owls as an “easy” or “beginner” owl, it is important to be extra vigilant with these small species that are more easily, albeit unintentionally, dominated. Despite their diminutive size and apparent ease of handling, in order to provide good welfare,…

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae Overview Although often readily available through wildlife rehabilitation sources, previously wild, adult great horned owls can be challenging to manage while maintaining good welfare, even for the most experienced handlers. To maximize lifelong welfare of an owl that is going to participate in ambassador animal programs,…

Hooded Vulture

Hooded Vulture Coragyps atratus Order: Accipitriformes Family: Accipitridae Overview With regard to their availability and suitability as ambassador animals: Hooded vultures are an SSP species so if you are an AZA zoo it is recommended that you first contact the SSP coordinator. With good training, this species can be reliable in both flighted and non-flighted…

Spectacled Owl

Spectacled Owl Pulsatrix perspicillata Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae Overview Raised correctly, spectacled owls are reported to make excellent glove birds for educational programming. To maximize lifelong welfare of an owl that is going to participate in ambassador animal programs, and as such be exposed to close contact with humans and a variety of stimuli that…

Black Vulture

Black vultures can be great ambassadors in the hands of the right trainer.

Turkey Vulture

Cathartes aura Order: Accipitriformes Family: Cathartidae Overview With regard to their availability and suitability as ambassador animals: Turkey vultures can be acquired from rehab and rescue centers. With good training, this species can be reliable in both flighted and non-flighted situations. Turkey vultures are a little more sensitive to large crowds and chaos than some…

Poison dart frogs (Green & Black)

Poison Dart Frogs (Green & Black) Dendrobates auratus         Order:    Anura        Family: Dendrobatidae Overview Green and Black poison dart frogs are relatively easy to care for and have many programming messages, making them a wonderful addition to an ambassador team. At Akron Zoo, our frogs are set up in bioactive housing, which takes…

3-Banded Armadillo

Species Latin Name Tolypeutes matacus Order: Edentata or Xenarthra Family: Dasypodidae Overview The unique look of these mammals, as well as many interesting facts about this species, makes the Southern Three-Banded Armadillo a good addition to an education team. When hormonal behavior is presented, staff must take into consideration that the armadillo might not be…

Hermit Crab

Hermit Crab Latin Name Coenobita spp. Order: Decapoda Family: Note relevant information about latin name, close relatives, etc. Overview They are a nice way to be able to draw correlations to ocean invertebrates, since we don’t have any fish or other ocean or purely aquatic species in our collection. Easy to handle and not hard…