“Père” is the French word for “Father,” which might seem an odd name for a deer, but this species was actually first discovered in 1866 by Father Armand David, a French missionary in China.
These animals have unusual feature including cow-like hooves, a camel-like neck, a donkey-like black tufted tail and the antlers of a deer. Other unusual features of this deer are the antlers of the males, which has tines that point upwards!
Père David’s Deer are completely extinct in the wild and only exist in captivity. There are conservation attempts to reintroduce them back into the wild, but none have been successful to date. So when you drive through the park and see this unique animal, remember, he’s not just a regular deer, he is a rare animal that can only be seen in captivity!
Few animals are as distinct as the peafowl, also known as the peacock. There are two Asiatic and one African species of peafowl. Having brightly colored plumage and long beautiful trains, peacocks are usually a favorite at our park. Did you know that only the males have colorful feathers? The female are grey or brown, but the males have vivid colors which they display to attract a mate.
One distinguishing feature of the peacock is the male’s long train of bright, iridescent colors. They can display them or let them trail behind them, depending on if they are seeking attention from females. We have peacocks freely walking around for you to see and if you’re lucky, you can see one show off a bit!
Marsupials are mammals that carry their young in a pouch. Most marsupials actually live in Australia, which is also where you’ll find the Red Kangaroo. This variety of kangaroo is the largest marsupial in the world. They can stand up to around 5 feet tall with tails that extend much further. They have pointed ears,a square muzzle and are known to be good swimmers. Grass makes up to 95% of their diet and they live in small groups of 2 to 4.
Many people wonder why Red Kangaroos only hop and never walk. Interestingly, kangaroo legs are unique and cannot move one right after the other. Their legs do not move independently of each other, so in order to move at all they must hop! They can cover a lot of ground in a single hope, sometimes as far as 29 feet! Some can also hop very quickly, up to 35 mph!
Buffalo, also called Bison, used to number in the millions here in America. They used to roam freely across the Great Plains and were vitally important to the indigenous people, who revered these amazing animals. Now days bison are far fewer in number, but still considered a majestic animal that’s symbolic of the West.
Bison are heavyweight that can weigh over 2,000 pounds and stand over 6 feet at their shoulders. They spend a lot of their time grazing on grasses and other greenery. They sport thick, shaggy coats that keep them comfortable in bad weather. Bison also have long sharp horns that can be up to two feet long!
Currently most bison live mainly on preserves and ranches . You can visit us and see these wonderful guys roaming in our drive-through section. Their size can be surprising when you see them up close and personal!
Hailing from the rough mountainous regions of Scottland is the Scottish Highlander. They have a signature orange coat that is very thick and shaggy. They also feature impressive horns and the males can weigh up to 1,800 pounds! Their extra thick coat and their willingness and ability to feed on sparse vegetation that other breeds find unacceptable, means they can live comfortably in the very cold areas.
Because many Scottish Highlanders live on snowy mountains, it can sometimes be hard to find food. Luckily they have long, heavy and wide horns which they can use to find grasses and other plants buried underneath. In spite of their large size, they are known to typically have a calm demeanor, spending most of their time grazing for food.
The Vervet monkey is an Old World monkey native to Africa. There are actually 5 different subspecies referred to as Vervet, some with very distinct looks. As part of conservation efforts, some Vervets have actually been introduced into places around the world, including here in America!
Vervets are small monkeys that have black faces with a grey body and white underbelly. Male Vervets weigh an average of 12 pounds and can be up to 24 inches in length at the base of the tail. Females Vervets average around 9 pounds and reach up to nearly 20 inches in length at the base of the tail.
Vervets are predominately vegetarians, eating leaves, seeds, flowers and fruits. They will, however, on occasion, eat small insects such as grasshoppers and even eggs should they find some handy. Vervets are social monkeys, living in groups for protection and to make raising young easier. Their natural predators are leopards, eagles, baboons and pythons. Loss of habitat, however, is another threat they face.
You can always come see this interesting monkey and perhaps you’ll even get to hear their distinct vocalizations!
Did you know that early Spanish explorers called alligators “the lizard?” These large and intimidating animals must have been quite a site to see for the first time!
An American alligator can weigh up to 1000 pounds and be over 10 feet long! Add to that their armoured appearance and speed and you have yourself an impressive animal!
The typical alligator weighs between 700 and 800 pounds and reaches about 13 feet in length. They live in fresh water wetlands from Texas through North Carolina. They eat fish, birds, small mammals and reptiles. Baby alligators are called hatchlings and their mothers protect them for about the first year.
Alligators are fairly opportunistic predators, eating all sorts of mammals and fish as the come available. They are also known to be one of the most vocal reptiles. They make noises to signal distress, threaten, to mark their territory and locate mates. Young alligators will also call for their mother if they feel threatened!
The Bull Snake is a large non-venomous constrictor snake that is related to the gopher snake. They live throughout the central US along with northern Mexico and parts of Canada. This snake is sometimes confused with a rattlesnake due to its coloration. When threatened, the Bull Snake can actually mimic its dangerous look-alike to scare off predators.
In reality the Bull Snake feeds off of rodents like mice, rats, pocket gophers, ground hogs and more. It is also thought that they kill and eat rattlesnakes, which makes them a friend for property owners as they as both harmless and helpful in controlling rodents.
An adult Bull Snake can reach up to 6 feet long and weigh over 3 pounds. They are slow moving snakes that try to evade danger or, when cornered, try to make themselves look large or “fake rattle” to scare off large threats. If you want to see one of these guys up close, we invite you stop on by!
Few animals have such tell-tale features as the Texas Longhorn. Known for their distinctive horns, which can reach up to 7 feet long at the tip, the Longhorn is a large cattle species used in the beef and dairy industry. These guys can grow up to 2,200 pounds and are very hardy. They are grazers and since they aren’t picky, they will eat a wide variety of greenery, causing less damage than breeds that feed primarily off of a single food source.
The Texas Longhorn has diverse colorations and are known for being an intelligent breed. They are also known for being quite gentle, in spite of their imposing size. In fact, due to their largely calm nature, they are popular as riding steers. You can see just how large these guys are in person at our park!
Lizards are interesting guys and Tegu is no exception. Coming from South American, the Tegu has a few variations in the species, separated mostly by their various colorations. Some types of Tegu are very popular as pets, such as the Black and Red varieties. One species, the Gold Tegu, comes from Panama and are also popular among pets due to their unique coloration.
Tegus are omnivorous, eating plants, fruit, animals and even eggs. They can reach up to 4 feet long and live up to 15 years in optimal conditions. They actually hibernate for about 5 months a years. In the wild they are sometimes considered a pest, eating eggs and disturbing domesticated animals in rural areas. You can see a Tegu any day of the week by visiting us here at the park.