Most of the animals exhibited at the Nature Center are here because they are unable to survive in the wild. Some are domesticated animals that were surrendered by their previous owners, others are injured wild animals that are now unable to hunt or escape from predators. The ANRC views these animals as ambassadors of their species and displays them in settings so visitors can appreciate their beauty, observe their behavior, and better understand their lives.
Want to meet some of our animal ambassadors up close and personal? Come to our Creature Features, every Saturday at noon. It’s then that we take out all of our tame animals to be petted and held!
Mary, our Great Horned Owl (aka: GHO), came to us after having a rather unfortunate encounter with a barbed-wire fence. One of his wings was shattered beyond mending and had to be amputated. While Mary escaped all of this with his life, having only one wing, he is non-releasable and is a permanent resident here, at the Ansonia Nature Center, and has been here for over 15 years! You can view his outdoor enclosure through a large glass window inside the Nature Center.
Barred owls are one of the most common owls in CT. In the woods surrounding the Nature Center, we frequently hear them hooting. Our staff has even sighted these owls in the early morning hours! Before being brought to us by Countryside Veterinary Hospital, Sebastian had received serious head trauma and a massive break in his left-wing from a collision with a car. His wing could not be saved, so this lovely, one-winged owl’s permanent home is here, at the Nature Center. He lives on a healthy diet of 3 frozen-thawed mice nightly, fed to him in his pine bough-filled enclosure. Sebby is a bit shy, so he doesn’t come out for a lot of programs, but when he does, his majestic presence is seldom forgotten.
Red is a Red-Phased Eastern Screech Owl. He was found standing on a street curb, exhausted, with his left eye closed. His encounter with a car left him blind in that eye. A one-eyed owl wouldn’t last long in the wild–not only would it be very difficult for him to hunt, but he’d also quickly fall prey to other predators. Red’s permanent home is here, at the Nature Center.
Anson is an English Angora rabbit. He came to us from one of our Ranger’s own fiber farm. He’s lived at the Ansonia Nature Center for almost his whole life. Despite what popular culture would have you believe about rabbits, he doesn’t actually love carrots – he’d much rather eat arugula for dessert. Because of his coat, he needs to be brushed regularly. His soft fur is actually wool, and it can be collected to be spun into angora wool.
our Ball Python, E.T., was found slithering down the halls of the Ansonia Middle School. These snakes–native to the savannas and grasslands of Africa–have become popular pets due to their docile temperament. Many people do not know that these snakes can live up to 30 years and often end up offering them up for adoption after having them for only a few years. E.T. is a huge part of our Animal Ambassador program and frequently travels with us to events! He’s the most chill animal here, at the Nature Center!
The Ansonia Nature Center is also home to Chuckles (a ringneck dove), Abby (a guinea pig), Sydney (a bearded dragon), Potato (a grey tree frog), several hundred honey bees, three box turtles, an anole, several hissing cockroaches, and a tarantula.