Leopard Tortoise

Stigmochelys pardalis Order: Testudines Family: Testudinidae Natural History Information Longevity Leopard tortoises live between 50 and 100 years in the wild. Husbandry Information Housing Requirements Life Cycle Natural History Relevant Information Leopard tortoises readily drink standing water. A shallow water dish may be provided, but check it daily, and clean it as required. The size…

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.

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….

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…

Black-tailed Prairie Dog

Cynomys ludovicianus Order: Rodentia Husbandry Information Housing Requirements Diet Requirements Veterinary Concerns Notes on Enrichment & Training Prairie dogs, like all rodents, are chewers. Their almost constant chewing is what keeps their incisor teeth from growing too long. Lots of chewable enrichment items such as paper (phone books are great!), cardboard, wood, and hay should…

Merriam’s Kangaroo Rat

Dipodomys merriami Order: Rodentia Husbandry Information Housing Requirements Kangaroo rats need dust baths to keep their fur clean Diet Requirements In the wild, kangaroo rats eat seeds, vegetation, and insects. Their diet will vary seasonally, with more vegetation in the summer and more insects in the winter. In captivity, this species is given seed mix,…

Kangaroo, Red

Macropus rufus Order: Diprodontia Husbandry Information Housing Requirements Open space without too many obstacles. Shelter from rain. They really like lying on heat pads in cold weather. Diet Requirements Hay, herbivore pellets, fresh produce such as lettuce, yams, apples. Veterinary Concerns Kangaroos in captivity are prone to tooth and mouth problems, often called lumpy jaw disease….

Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec

Echinops telfairi Order: Afrosoricida Husbandry Information Housing Requirements This species can be housed in larger aquarium style tanks or wire style enclosures as long as the wire enclosure can be kept sufficiently warm to prevent torpor. You must provide a heat pad for tenrecs year round otherwise they can go into torpor during cooler times of…