North American Kestrel

Falco sparverius Order: Falconiformes Family: Falconidae Overview Males are easily distinguished from females by their size (males are smaller) and their slate blue wings (females have brown wings). Kestrels possess a pair of false eye spots, or ocelli, on the nape of their neck. These dark circles are thought to be a form of protective…

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.

Emperor Scorpion

Pandinus imperator Order: Scorpiones Family: Scorpionidae Overview This species is commonly found in education collections. Because of their impressive size, Emperor scorpions are known for their wow factor. They do not have potent venom which also makes them a possibility for handling, although their pincers are powerful. Like tarantulas, most people consider scorpions scary or…

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…

Eurasian Eagle Owl

Eurasian Eagle Owl Bubo bubo Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae (typical owls) This species is the largest of the Eagle Owls, and largest owl in the world.  Overview This impressive bird is the largest species of owl in the world. Many facilities present this animal both on the glove or in free-flight shows, and it is…

Laughing Kookaburra

Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae Order: Coraciiformes Family: Alcedinidae  Overview Laughing kookaburras are the largest member of the kingfisher family and are a dynamic species that can be presented in a variety of educational forums. They have several natural behaviors that can be demonstrated during programming, including flight, calling, and prey stunning. The laughing kookaburra SSP…

Chilean Rose Tarantula

Chilean Rose Tarantula Latin Name Grammostola rosea    Order: Araneae     Family:  Overview The Chilean rose-haired tarantula is the hardiest of tarantulas and is easy to find in human care and is one of the most common found in ambassador animal situations. Although it has a reputation for being docile (calm), it varies in temperment…

Barn Owl

Barn Owl Tyto Alba Order: Strigiformes Family: Tytonidae Overview Although often readily available through wildlife rehabilitation sources, barn owls are not a beginner owl, and acquisition of one should only be considered if facility has experienced handlers. Many facilities have noted they are more challenging than other owl species due to their naturally secretive nature….

Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Screech Owl Megascops asio Order: Strigiformes Family: Tytonidae Overview While many facilities recommend screech 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,…

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…