Zoo America

It Was a Christmas ‘Tail’ for ZooAmerica


On Christmas Day 2014, ZooAmerica, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, welcomed three baby Ringtails (Ring-tailed Cats). The two females were named ‘Holly’ and ‘Noel’, and their brother was named ‘Kringle’.



10440989_801055709943487_8664207098030456769_nPhoto Credits: ZooAmerica (Image 1: Kits at 5 weeks old; Image 2: 12 days old; Image 3: three weeks old; Image 4: Four weeks old; Image 5: Six weeks old; Image 6: Seven weeks old; Image 7: Eight weeks)


The three kits are now on exhibit with their mother, ‘Acacia’. They continue to spend a great deal of time in their nest box, sleeping or nursing; but they can also be seen, occasionally, out playing.

The kits will stay with their mother for about a year. They will then travel to other zoos, with the expectation of them staring families of their own.

The Ringtail is a mammal of the raccoon family. They are native to Central America, Northern South America, California, Colorado, eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Texas.

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It’s All About that Pumpkin

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Pumpkins are everywhere, this time of year! They make great pies, Jack-O-Lanterns, and pretty awesome enrichment toys for zoo animals. Happy Halloween from ZooBorns!

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Photo Credits: Tammy Spratt/San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Image 1: African Lion Cub); Amiee Stubbs Photography (Image 2: "Charlie" the Porcupine at Nashville Zoo); Lincoln Children's Zoo (Image 3: "Lincoln" the Red Panda); ZooAmerica (Image 4: "Rainier" the Mountain Lion); Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn (Image 5: Elephants); Sue Ogrocki (Images 6-Gorilla,7-Red River Hogs,10-Galapagos Tortoise at Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens); Minnesota Zoo (Image 8: Lynx); The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens (Image 9: Meerkats)

More great pumpkin pics below the fold!

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Mountain Lion Foundling Finds a Home

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An orphaned Mountain Lion cub has a new home at ZooAmerica in Hersey, Pennsylvania! 

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Cougar cub_ZooAmerica_9Photo Credits: ZooAmerica

A homeowner, near Spokane, WA, found the 3-week-old dehydrated and malnourished cub on their front porch and contacted authorities. State Fish and Wildlife officers responded and immediately searched the area for the cub’s mother. When the mother wasn’t located, the cub was taken to wildlife rehabilitators at Mt.Spokane Veterinary Hospital.

Because of the cub’s age, he will need intervention by humans to ensure his survival.  According to Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman, Madonna Luers, “You just don’t rehabilitate an apex predator that’s become fixed on people, and release it back into the wild. The odds that it would eventually have contact with people or pets are too high.”

Arrangements were made to find an AZA accredited facility that could provide care for the Mountain Lion cub after his veterinary stay. ZooAmerica is now proud to have their new occupant and are providing the additional care and attention he needs to continue his development. The, yet-to-be-named, male cub is doing phenomenally well, but he will remain off exhibit for a while longer.

Mountain Lions (also known as Cougars, Panthers, or Pumas) are native to the Americas, with a range extending from the Canadian Yukon to the Andes of South America. They are classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. However, the species is provided a level of protection through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  According to CITES, under Appendix I, it is illegal to engage in international trade of Mountain Lion specimens or parts.

See more photos of the cub below the fold.

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And Babies Make Three: ZooAmerica's Trio of Black-tailed Prairie Dog Kits


ZooAmerica in Hershey, Pennsylvania is now home to 11 baby Black-tailed Prairie Dogs. The babies round out the Zoo’s Prairie Dog colony to a total of 20. These playful and sometimes vocal rodents were first spotted at the beginning of May and continue to be an entertaining highlight for visitors to the Big Sky Country region of the Zoo. A member of the squirrel family, as adults they will grow to weigh between 1-3 pounds and 13-17 inches in length from nose to tail. Their lifespan in the wild is from 3-5 years ,but can be up to 8 years in captivity.

In the wild these rodents live on North America's prairies and open grasslands in only a fraction of their former numbers, in underground burrows. They make a series of tunnels, sectioned off for different purposes - sleeping quarters, nurseries and a latrine! Family groups, called coteries, share these burroww, their food, groom each other and supply protection from predators such as snakes, foxes and burrowing owls. 

Much of the Great Plains has been converted to farmland or pastures where Prairie Dogs are not welcome. Because their landscaping is considered destructive, they are often considered to be pests and killed. Where at one time they were arguably the most abundant mannal in North AMerica, about 98% of all Prairie Dogs were exterminated, while their range has shrunken to about 5 %.


Photo Credit: ZooAmerica

The Prairie Dogs are being bred at ZooAmerica to act as ambassadors for their species to teach and educate the public about their role in nature and why it is important to conserve and protect the places they are found. 

It's Two Tiny Roadrunner Chicks for ZooAmerica


Pennsylvania's ZooAmerica welcomed two Roadrunner chicks in June.These chicks will grow to be 20-24 inches (50-61 cm) from tail to beak and 10-12 inches (25.5-30.5 cm) tall. A large black-and-white mottled ground bird with a distinctive head crest, Roadrunners scurry across the terrain in American deserts, as depicted in the well-known Warner Bros. cartoons. It can fly, but for only short distances as its wingspan can't keep its large body in the air for long. These chicks are members of the Cuckoo family, characterized by feet with 2 forward toes and 2 behind. 

Roadrunners feed on insects, scorpions, lizards, snakes, rodents and other birds, supplementing their diet with plants in winter. Because of its lightening quickness, it can prey upon rattlesnakes. It snatches a coiled rattlesnake by the tail, cracks it like a whip and hits its head against the ground until it's dead. It swallows the snake, but often can't take in the entire length at one time. That doesn't stop the Roadrunner! It will continue to on it's way with the snake dangling from its mouth, consuming another inch or two as the snake slowly digests.


Photo Credit: ZooAmerica 

Read more about ZooAmerica's Roadrunners below the jump:

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Three Baby Burrowing Owlets Hatched at ZooAmerica


Pennsylvania's ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park has expanded its animal family with the arrival of several new babies. Among them include these hand-raised baby Burrowing Owls that hatched at the end of May. The fertile eggs were brought to ZooAmerica from the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Unlike other owls, burrowing owls are active during the day and nest in the ground. The three Burrowing Owl chicks are currently in a holding area in the Animal Health Center, with plans to introduce two of them to The Great Southwest region in the future. The third owl will reside in the Zoo’s education department for outreach and onsite programming. The Zoo currently has one resident burrowing owl on exhibit. 

Like many zoos, ZooAmerica keeps most newborns off exhibit until the Zoo naturalists determine if the animal has matured enough to be placed on exhibit or sent to another zoo. These animals are kept in the Zoo’s Animal Health Center, where they are monitored and cared for daily. 


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