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 here 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.
Few animals are as easy to love as the giraffe. These guys are beautiful, unique and generally friendly and eager to interact. The scientific name of the giraffe is Giraffa camelopardalis largely because they have characteristic of both the camel and the leopard. They are also the tallest land animal, growing up to 20 feet tall!
The giraffe comes from Africa but they are thought to have once also resided in parts of Asia. The male can weigh up to 2,628 lb and consume up to 75 lb of foliage each day. They eat twigs, leaves and other types of vegetation. They are not very vocal animals but they can make sounds, especially when they are calling their young back to them.
You can feed our giraffe and see just how amazing they are when you visit us in person!
Sheep have been part of our society for thousand of years, being kept for a number of purposes that range from fleece to a food source. One such breed is the Jacob Sheep, a small breed which dates all the way back to Syria nearly 3,000 years ago. At some point in time, the Jacob Sheep moved to England, where the majority now reside. It wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th century that they made their way to the United States.
One unique feature of the Jacob Sheep are their horns. They typically have two or four horns, and in some cases, even six! Their horns are generally thick and can curl, giving them a distinctive look. Not all of their horns curl, however, especially those with more than one set. Have you ever fed one of our Jacob Sheep in the walkabout?
What does an Oreo and a cow have in common? Apart from the fact that milk goes well with cookies, nothing really… unless you’re talking about the Belted Galloway. This animal is sometimes called the Oreo Cow due to their coloration, which is black with a white belt-like stripe down the center!
Interestingly enough, it is uncertain where this special coloration came from, but like most traits, it is likely something that was bred-into the Galloway over time. The current theory is that they were bred with the Dutch Belted Cow, leading to the tell-tale white belt we see today!
Besides their belts, Belted Galloways are also well-known for having the ability to eat even the roughest grasses and grains, including the types of grass other cattle won’t touch. This makes them popular since they are so adaptable and easy to please.
It’s that time of year again, animals are starting to shed their fur. Depending upon the weather, animals shed their extra warm layer in preparation for the summer season. Have you ever wondered how this happens? This occurs largely due to hormonal changes which trigger it to reflect the season. When the weather grows colder, the hormonal changes causes the fur coat to grow thicker. This helps keep the animal warm during the frigid winter months. When the weather turns warmer, like it is doing now, their fur tarts to fall from the animal’s skin. This thin coat helps the animal adapt to the higher temperatures.
You can see the fur shedding when you visit any park or zoo, and this can sometimes be worrisome. Don’t worry, this is a normal part of nature and it helps our animals stay more comfortable in the hot temperatures. In this picture featuring one of our park’s animals. Around its neck, you can see a thin coat. Along the rest of the body, you can see patches of heavier fur. This is fur that simply hasn’t been completely shed yet. Soon, this heavy fur will be gone and the animal will have a thin coat of fur that is perfect for these hot months! In a few months when fall and winter roll back around, the fur will return!
Everyone is familiar with the standard pig found on farms across America, but did you know that the Vietnamese potbelly pig belongs to the same species? These guys, however, have been bred to have certain characteristics, giving them their trademark look. The average between 100 to 200 pounds and they stand just 16 to 20 inches tall. Native to Vietnam, these guys are popular as pets because they tend to be smart, easy to train and clean.
Like all pigs, they lack sweat glands and have to find ways to stay cool in the heat, such as rolling in cool mud. This also protects their skin from the sun. They also like to eat, which, combined with their height, makes obesity a problem for the breed. If you’d like to see what a Vietnamese potbelly pig looks like in person just come visit us!