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"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."


Bearded Dragon

G’Day, Mate!  We bearded dragons are known for our sweet demeanor and easygoing attitude.  All bearded dragons are diurnal, and don’t worry, we are non-venomous.  At first glance, a bearded dragon can look quite intimidating, but that is part of our charm!  If you look past our spiky exterior, you will see a gentle creature that will hang out on your shoulder for hours.  We are omnivorous; we eat crickets, mealworms, and fruit, vegetables, and dark leafy greens.  We are also famous movie stars!  Can you guess what movie featured us as the deadly “yellow-spotted lizards”?

Average Lifespan:  10-15 years

Corn Snake

We are also known as Rat Snakes, and we’re very popular in the snake trade.  We corn snakes help to control rodent populations that may spread disease.  We LOVE mice.  We are constrictors, which means we bite our prey, then draw it into the center of our bodies and squeeze the life out of it before swallowing it whole!  We are voracious eaters and love to pursue our prey.  No frozen-thawed mice for us!  We are otherwise non-aggressive, but food is a very serious business to us!

Average Lifespan:  10-15 years

Blue Tongue Skink

From Australia, we use mimicry to protect ourselves from predators.  Since our legs are very small and our bellies drag the ground, its easier to pretend to be a snake rather than a lizard.  When threatened or scared, we hiss like a snake.  We are omnivorous, eating both insects and plants.  We are also diurnal.

Average Lifespan:  10-20 years

Crested Gecko

Before 1994, scientists thought the Crested Gecko was extinct.  But we were just hiding!  We are nocturnal, and we have large, striking eyes so we can see at night.  Our prehensile tail helps us hang upside-down.  But unlike some other lizards, if we lose our tail, it will never grow back.  We love to eat crickets and sometimes baby food!  We are now thriving in captivity and in New Caledonia, off the coast of Australia.  We can lick our own eyeballs!  Can you?

Average Lifespan:  7-10 years

European Legless Lizard

Am I a snake or a lizard?  Oftentimes, legless lizards are mistaken for snakes.  Don't let me fool you!  That's what we want you to think!  If you look closely, you will see that I have eyelids and ear holes, whereas a snake has neither.  My tail is also about half of my body; a snake's is only a few inches long.  I can even drop my tail if I have to!  (But please don’t pull it off, it hurts, and I might need it later)  In my natural habitat in the European grasslands, I spin and hiss to make predators think I’m scary.  I am a crepuscular (active at dusk and before dawn) or nocturnal ground dwellers.  We can swim and climb trees, but only when we have to.  Normally, I keep to myself, spending the daylight hours sunning myself on rocks or tree limbs.  Rather than lying in ambush for prey to pass by, we European legless lizards are active predators that scour the forest floor in search of food.  We can even use our nose to burrow under leaves or under ground.

Average Lifespan:  15-20 years

Leopard Gecko

Hi!  My name is India, and I am one of the most commonly bred lizards because I come in a variety of sizes and colors.  I love to prowl around at night and eat crickets, mealworms, and sometimes the occasional pinky mouse.  Yum!  Feel my tail!  That’s where I store all my fat for later!  It can come off, but it’s painful and won’t grow back the same.  So please don’t pull it off.  Full grown, I can reach about 9 inches in length.  And if you hold me up to a light, you can see right through my head!

Average lifespan:  20 years

Box Turtle

Ornate box turtles have been found to be more carnivorous than other box turtles.  Because we love mice, insects, and fruits and veggies, we are considered omnivorous.  We love our strawberries and mealworms!  In our natural habitat of the plains of Wyoming and Nebraska, one one of our favorite foods is beetles and grubs in bison dung. Yes, bugs in poop!  We can be super fast when chasing our food.  But although we're very sweet and cute, we can live a lot longer than you, up to 100 years!  So be careful when thinking about buying us as a pet.

Meyer's Parrot

This is a beautiful little parrot originating in Africa. They are known to be rather quiet and easygoing. Nahla came to us after we rescued her a year ago. Her case was severe. She was kept in a cage about the size of two shoeboxes. We saw her and knew she needed to come home with us. She has a few missing toes and would lunge and bite at us when she first arrived. Over time, she has become a very important part of our family. She now takes showers with us, walks in the neighborhood and of course, she visits with children during programs. She loves to smother us in kisses and chatter sweet noises in our ears.

African Ball Python

Hamjambo!  My name is Kenya!  In Nigeria, we ball pythons are actually worshipped.  If one of us is accidentally accidentally killed, Nigerians will hold a funeral.  How sweet!  I can reach up to 4½ feet in length.  I am non-venomous, and I curl into a ball when I'm stressed or frightened.  In the grasslands of Africa, I love to hunt for mice, rats, shrews, and sometimes even small birds!

Average lifespan:  20-30 years

Blue Death-Feigning Beetle

Originally from Southwestern USA desert areas, we are famous for being dramatic.  When threatened, we roll over and play dead!  We are very convincing.  We secrete a blue wax to protect against dehydration and overheating.  Deserts are hot!  When it comes to food, we decomposers and herbivores, eating rotting plants and seeds.  But our favorite food is dog food!!  Delicious!

Average Lifespan:  8 years

African Cave-Dwelling Spiders

We may look scary, but we are COMPLETELY HARMLESS to humans.  We are nonvenomous.  Even though we have 8 eyes, we are used to living in dark caves, so we're almost blind!  Some of us can reach up to 2 feet in diameter!  We are super-fast!  At full speed, the human eye can’t even catch up with us!  We are actually very affectionate with our families, unlike any other arachnid.  Mothers carry babies on their backs until grown.  But if one were to fall off, Mama would eat it!

Average Lifespan:  3-5 years

Gopher Snake

Also called bull snakes, we can reach up to 7 feet in length!  We are from North America.  Can you think of anyone else that lives in North America??  To ward off predators, we hiss and shake our tails to imitate a rattlesnake!  Although we pretend to be very dangerous rattlesnakes or pit vipers, we are actually nonvenomous.  Normally we even strike with our mouths closed.  We eat small gophers, bird eggs, lizards, and bats!

Average lifespan:  12-15 years

Western Hognose Snake

Known for our upturned (pig-like) noses, we endangered snakes love to snack on frogs, lizards, mice, birds, other snakes, and reptile eggs all over the midwest.  We are venomous!  But don’t worry, we are not dangerous to humans.  We can't bite anything bigger than a golf ball.  Because we look a lot like the deadly Death Adder or Cobra, we rely on mimicry to scare predators away.  If striking with a closed mouth doesn't work, we roll over and play dead!

Average Lifespan: 15-18 years

Giant African Millipede

We millipedes have the most important job in the wild:  As herbivores AND decomposers, we eat dead leaves, then POOP!  Our poop fertilizes plants, and the plants give us oxygen to breathe!  Thank us for pooping!  You're totally welcome.  When nervous or scared, we curl up into a super tight ball and secretes an irritating yellow substance to ward off predators.  We smell like Ivory soap!  Go ahead!  Smell us!

Average Lifespan:  1-7 years

Savannah Monitor

My name is Arnold the Terminator for my voracious appetite!!  Some of my favorite foods in Ghana, Africa are cockroaches, crickets, large earthworms, snails, slugs, locusts, and especially mice!  I am already about 2 feet long, but I am just a baby! When full grown, I\'ll be about 4 feet long!  Sometimes, I think I’m a dog; I go on walks in the neighborhood, receive lots of love, can play dead, and sometimes even eat dog food!  When confronted by a predator, rolls onto its back and grasps a hind leg in its mouth, forming a ring with its body and making itself harder for the animal to swallow whole while playing dead.

Average lifespan:  6-10 years

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