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From snakes to parakeets... be sure to visit our animal exhibits for lots of fun! All of the animals at the Science Center were either donated to us or were rescued on Exotic Animal Amnesty Day, and we are so happy that the Science Center gets to be their forever home. All of our animals offer a great opportunity to teach guests about various species, how to safely interact with animals, and bring joy to the hearts of all who visit our center. Interested in sponsoring an animal? Click here!

the Blue and Gold Macaw

Cici is a Blue and Gold Macaw. Blue and Golds are native to South America. These gorgeous birds can live to be 80 years old. She is named after Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin — a British-American astronomer and astrophysicist whose doctoral thesis discussed the composition and physical makeup of stars.

Ivan the Timneh African Grey Parrot

Ivan is a Timneh African Grey Parrot, the smaller of the two sub-species of African Greys. They are native to equatorial Africa. He is named after Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, Russian physiologist and Nobel Prize winner. He is most famous for his groundbreaking research on the conditioned reflex as discovered with “Pavlov’s dogs.”

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Florey & Fenner the Budgerigars

Florey and Fenner are Budgerigars, a.k.a Budgies or Parakeets. Budgies are the only Australian species of their genus. They are named after Howard Florey (Left) & Frank Fenner (Right). Florey was an Australian pharmacologist and pathologist who aided in the development of Penicillin. Fenner was an Australian virologist who helped eradicate smallpox. 

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Simon the Nanday Conure

Simon is a Nanday Conure, also known as the black-hooded parakeet, native to South America. Its most distinguishing characteristic, for which it is named, is its black facial mask and beak. A conure has a few distinct sounds that are very loud; their call can be carried for miles. Simon is named after Simon Boyes, a British ornithologist and tour guide, with over 30 years experience of leading groups to watch wildlife and identify birds on every continent.

Crick the Degu
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Sam & Dean the Degus

Crick is a degu. These social creatures similar to Chinchillas are about five to seven inches long and come from Chile. They can live from 10-20 years, and they are very vocal, making chattering, squeaking and chuckling noises. Crick is named after Francis Crick who, along with James Watson. won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of the structure of DNA, one of the most significant scientific discoveries of the 20th century.

Sam and Dean are our other degus. They are diurnal, which means they are awake during the day and sleep at night, just like us. They are also highly social animals. Sam is named after the IBM AI bot, Sam (left), a custom data platform aimed at reducing ocean pollution. Dean is named after Dean Kamen (right), founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a nationwide robotics program for ages 4-18.

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Pierre & Becq the Sugar Gliders

Pierre, and Becq are Sugar Gliders. These marsupials are named for their preference for sugary foods and their ability to glide through the air. They are nocturnal animals that typically live in groups. Pierre is named after Marie Curie's husband, Pierre Curie, both known for their pioneering work in the study of radioactivity and their discovery of the elements radium and polonium. Becq is named after Henri Becquerel, the first person to discover evidence of radioactivity.

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Ella the African Pygmy Hedgehog

Ella is a hedgehog. They have spines, also called quills, that cover their back and sides. If they are scared or feel threatened they will raise those spines to look larger and tuck their head and feet to roll up in a ball. Ella is named after Ruth Ella Moore (1903-1994). Ruth was a bacteriologist and microbiologist, who in 1933, became the first African-American woman to be awarded a Ph.D. in a natural science.

Templeton the Fancy Rat

Templeton is a Fancy Rat, the domesticated form of the Brown Rat. They spend several hours a day cleaning themselves, and cleaning others is a social bonding experience. He is named after John Templeton, an American-born British investor and philanthropist. The Templeton Prize is an annual award granted to a living person, in the estimation of the judges, whose exemplary achievements advance Sir Templeton's vision: harnessing the power of the sciences to explore the deepest questions of the universe and humankind’s place and purpose within it.

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Sonic the African Pygmy Hedgehog

Sonic is a hedgehog. They have between 5,000 to 7,000 quills! Muscles along their back can raise and lower the quills to respond to threatening situations. There are currently 17 different species of hedgehog, none of which are native to America. Sonic is names after the Sonic Hedgehog protein (SHH), encoded for by the SHH gene and is named after the character Sonic the Hedgehog. SHH is located on chromosome seven and initiates the production of Sonic Hedgehog protein. This protein sends short- and long-range signals to embryonic tissues to regulate development.

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George and James the Guinea Pigs

George and James are guinea pigs. They communicate using several noises, including the well-known ‘wheek-wheek’ call – a sign of excitement or to find a friend – and a low ‘purring’ sound, which they make when they are feeling content and chilled out. George is named for George Washington Carver (1864-1943), pictured left. He was an agricultural scientist and inventor who developed hundreds of products using peanuts (though not peanut butter, as is often claimed), sweet potatoes and soybeans. James is named for James Edward Maceo West (1931-), pictured right. He is an American inventor and acoustician. He holds over 250 foreign and U.S. patents for the production and design of microphones and techniques for creating polymer foil electrets.

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Rufus & Nobel the Hairless Rats

Rufus and Nobel are hairless rats. Aside from their unusual coat, these rats tend to be a bit smaller than fancy rats. They are highly intelligent creatures who can be very affectionate with people. They also do best with another rat companion, and hairless rats often appreciate being paired with other rats that they can cuddle with for warmth. Rufus is named after Rufus Porter, who was an American painter, inventor, and founder of Scientific American magazine. Nobel is named after Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, businessman, and philanthropist. He is best known for having bequeathed his fortune to establish the Nobel Prize.

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Amy the African Pygmy Hedgehog

Amy is an African pygmy hedgehog. Hedgehogs have around 5000 to 7000 spines on their back. These can be raised and lowered to respond to threatening situations. Each quill/spine lasts about a year before dropping out and being replaced. As nocturnal creatures, when they are out to forage in the evening, they can travel for up to 2 miles, an incredibly a long way for little legs! Amy is named for Amy Mainzer (1974-), an American astronomer, specializing in astrophysical instrumentation and infrared astronomy. As principal investigator of NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission, Mainzer has overseen the largest space-based asteroid-hunting project in history.

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Penrose, Ghez, and Genzel the Guinea Pigs

Penrose, Ghez, and Genzel are guinea pigs. They scent mark by rubbing their chin or cheek across things which helps keep their home smelling familiar and reassuring. They are named after 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics winners, Roger Penrose (pictured left), Andrea Ghez (center), and Reinhard Genzel (right). Penrose was awarded half for showing how black holes could form and the other half was awarded to Genzel and Ghez for discovering a supermassive object at the Milky Way's center. Ghez is only the fourth woman to be awarded a Nobel in Physics ever.

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Niels the Sugar Glider

Niels is a sugar glider. Sugar gliders are marsupials, so they raise their young in a pouch on a female's stomach. They only weigh between 4 to 5 ounces when fully grown. Niels is named after Niels Bohr (1885-1962), a Danish physicist who made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922.

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Stevie the Sugar Glider

Stevie is a sugar glider. She has Anopthalmia, a birth defect where a baby is born without one or both eyes. This means she does not know when it is day or night, so she is not nocturnal like most sugar gliders. Stevie is named after Steve Irwin (1962-2006), Australian zookeeper, conservationist, television personality, wildlife expert, and environmentalist. His wife Terri and two children, Robert and Bindi, continue to operate the Australia Zoo in his honor.

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Alexander the Rose Hair Tarantula

Alex is a Rose Hair Tarantula. Rose Hairs are nomadic, meaning they spend their life moving all the time in search of food or a  mate. They live mostly solitary lives and are mostly blind. They are native to South America. He is named after Baron Alexander Von Humboldt — a Prussian biologist. Humboldt and an associate traveled extensively to South America and explored its large variety of animal and plant species. They soon discovered the first animal that produced electricity--the electric eel.

Lovelace the Amelanistic Red Rat Snake
the Ball

Lovelace is an Amelanistic Red Rat Snake. They are a non-venomous constrictor species native to the southeastern and central United States. He is named after Ada Lovelace — a writer and mathematician who worked with Charles Babbage on the Analytical Engine (the first computer prototype). She is credited with being the first female computer programmer.

Avogadro is a Ball Python. They are a non-venomous constrictor species that is native to West Africa. Ball pythons are named after their natural defensive behaviors. They tend to curl up into a ball when threatened. They are also called the “royal python” because ancient royalty wore them as jewelry. He is named after Amedeo Avogadro — an Italian physicist most known for his work in molecular theory.

Babbage the Creamsicle Corn Snake

Babbage is a Creamsicle Corn Snake. Corn snakes are a species of Rat Snake. Creamsicles are a hybrid of an albino corn and an Emory's Rat snake. He is named after Charles Babbage — an English mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer. He is most famous for his creation of the programmable computer and his Difference Engine. He worked closely with Ada Lovelace to program his Analytical Engine, the successor to the Difference Engine.

Sebastian the African Spurred Tortoise 

Sebastian is an African Spurred Tortoise. These are the largest mainland species of tortoise. They can weigh up to 200 pounds and live for more than 70 years. African Spurred Tortoises are native to the Sahara Desert and can even live for weeks without water. He is named after Johann Sebastian Bach, a German composer and musician generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Western art musical canon. Follow Sebastian in action on his Facebook and Instagram! @sebastianthetortoise

the Bearded Dragon

Nye is a Pogona, a.k.a a Bearded Dragon. They are a small species of lizards native to the desert and shrub-lands of Australia. She is named after Bill Nye — a famous educator and television presenter who used his background in science and education to bring fun experiments and science facts to viewers all across the world.

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Walter the Leopard Gecko

Walter is a Leopard Gecko. They are crepuscular (active during twilight hours), ground-dwelling lizards native to desert areas of Asia. Leopard geckos cannot climb up smooth surfaces because they do not have toe pads like most geckos. He is named after Walter Alvarez — a scientist who posited that the mass extinction of the dinosaurs was caused by a large asteroid.

Bindi the Bearded Dragon

Bindi is a Pogona, a.k.a a Bearded Dragon. They are a small species of lizards native to the desert and shrub-lands of Australia. She is named after Bindi Irwin—an Australian actress, television personality, and conservationist.

Tully the
Red-Eared Slider

Tully is a Red-Eared Slider. The are an amphibious species of turtle, meaning they like to spend time in the water and on the land. This species is invasive in Florida. He is named after Tullimonstrum, or the “Tully Monster” — a fossil of a soft bodied vertebrate that lived over 300 million years ago. Red eared Sliders are not native to Florida and have become an invasive species due to pet owners releasing them into the wild aquatic ecosystems of Florida.

Box Turtle

Sammi is Box Turtle. They are a ground-dwelling turtle but enjoy taking dips in the pond. This species of turtle is native to Florida. She is named after Samantha Cristoforetti—an Italian European Space Agency Astronaut.

Lucy the Red Tailed Boa

Lucy is a Red Tailed Boa, with a lifespan in captivity of 20 years or more. They can grow to about 6-12 feet long. She is named after the common name of AL 288-1, or Lucy, a collection of several hundred pieces of bone fossils representing 40% of the skeleton of a female of the hominin species Australopithecus afarensis.

Scooter the Florida River Cooter

Scooter is a Florida River Cooter, a species of turtles native to Central and Eastern United States. River Cooters can live up to 40 years and are usually about 12" in diameter. He is named after Scooter, a small irregular white cloud that spins around Neptune about every 16 hours. This cloud was discovered by the Voyager in 1989.

Fang the Bearded Dragon

Fang is a Bearded Dragon. Natural habitats of bearded dragons include deserts, arid and rocky areas, dry forests and scrublands. They are able to regulate their body temperature by changing the shades of the color of the skin to light to dark. Fang is named after Fang Haung, a geochemist that wants to understand how the Earth works and improve our environment using the knowledge of geochemistry. 

Ball Python

Kizzy is a Yellow Belly Ball Python. Many have yellowish tints to their undersides, unmarked belly scales, and a tight border of speckled patterns where their belly scales meet their sides. They are typically 3-5 feet long, and they are very docile. Kizzy is named after Kizzmekia Corbett (1986-), an American viral immunologist at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases. She is a scientist at the forefront of the development of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Brian the
Day Gecko

Brian is a day gecko. These geckos are native to Eastern Madagascar. They are the largest of the gecko species and can grow up to a foot long. At the end of each of their toes is an adhesive scale known as the lamellae, used to cling on to smooth surfaces. Because of the incredible grip strength of the lamellae, each foot is capable of supporting up to 40kg (88lbs) of weight. Brian is named after Brian Cox (1968-), an English physicist and former musician who serves as professor of particle physics at University of Manchester.

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Arday the Aregentinian Tegu

Arday is a black and white Argentinian Tegu. They are an invasive species originally found in eastern and central South America.Tegus are incredibly intelligent and curious lizards that can be tamed and trained with regular handling and interaction. Arday is named for Jason Arday (1985-), a sociology professor and the youngest black person ever appointed to a professorship at Cambridge. He was diagnosed as autistic at age 3, and due to global developmental delay, learned to speak at the age of 11 and to read and write at the age of 18.

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Hero the Leopard Gecko

Hero is a leopard gecko. These lizards shed their skin periodically like others, which isn't unusual. What is a bit odd about the leopard geckos is that they eat their shedded skin so that its predators are less likely to detect it as the skin won't give off any scent markers. Hero is named for Hero of Alexandria (10 AD-70 AD), a Greek mathematician and engineer who was active in his native city of Alexandria, Roman Egypt. He is often considered the greatest experimenter of antiquity and his work is representative of the Hellenistic scientific tradition.

Leonardo the False Map Turtle

Leonardo is a False Map Turtle, also commonly referred to as a Sawback Turtle. They love deep water and can be found in regions across the Southern US. He is named after Leonardo da Vinci, painter, sculptor, architect, inventor, military engineer and draftsman. His ideas and body of work have influenced countless artists and made da Vinci a leading light of the Italian Renaissance. 

Edwin the Leopard Gecko

Edwin is a Leopard Gecko. Leopard geckos can see better than other gecko species. Their vision is comparable to that of a cat. Edwin is named after Edwin Hubble, an American astronomer. He played a crucial role in establishing the fields of extragalactic astronomy and observational cosmology and is regarded as one of the most important astronomers of all time.

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Katie & Katherine the Harlequin Crested Geckos

Katie and Katherine are Harlequin Crested Geckos. They live for up to 20 years and love climbing vertical surfaces. These nocturnal creatures don't have eyelids, so they use their tongues to moisten their eyes. Katie is named after Katie Bouman, American computer scientist and member of the Event Horizon team that captured the first photo of a black hole. Katherine is named for Katherine Johnson, American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. manned spaceflights.

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Fletcher the Crested Gecko

Fletcher is a crested gecko; among the most distinctive features of these geckos are the hair-like projections found above the eyes, which greatly resemble eyelashes.They are primarily nocturnal, and will generally spend the daylight hours sleeping in secure spots in high branches. Fletcher is named for Tiera Fletcher (1995-), an American engineer who graduated from MIT in 2017 and works for Boeing. She is one of the designers and structural analysts building the Space Launch System for NASA which is set to send people to Mars.

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Beau the Banana Spider Morph Ball Python

Beau is a banana spider morph ball python, a type of ball python morph that is famous for its strong yellow colored blotches and dark freckles. Banana snakes are selectively bred from the West African ball python species to produce a beautiful yellow and tan patterning. The banana morph originated naturally in the wild – but is very rare. Beau is named for Joan Beauchamp Procter (1897-1931), a British zoologist and herpetologist. She was the first female Curator of Reptiles at the London Zoo, and made significant innovative contributions to veterinary practice and zoo displays.

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Hypatia the Leopard Gecko

Hypatia is a leopard gecko. The leopard-like spots you see on her will go away as she ages. By the time a leopard gecko is fully mature, it will look a lot different than what it did when it was young. She is named for Hypatia (350 AD-415 AD), a neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician. She was a prominent thinker in Alexandria where she taught philosophy and astronomy. Although preceded by Pandrosion, another Alexandrine female mathematician, she is the first female mathematician whose life is reasonably well recorded.

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Lilly the Pastel Morph Ball Python

Pastel ball pythons are genetic variants of the wild type ball python. They are more brightly colored than normal ball pythons and are easily identified by their pale green eyes. Lilly is named for Eli Lilly (1838-1898) an American soldier, pharmacist, chemist, and businessman who founded the Eli Lilly and Company pharmaceutical corporation. He was an advocate of federal regulation of the pharmaceutical industry, and many of his suggested reforms were enacted into law in 1906, resulting in the creation of the Food and Drug Administration.

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Wolfgang the African Spurred Tortoise

Wolfgang, or Wolfie for short, is an African spurred tortoise. Spurred tortoises are very aggressive with each other, starting from when they hatch. Ramming each other and attempts at flipping each other over are behaviors that are common for males. Wolfie is named for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), Austrian composer of the Classical period. He is widely recognized as one of the greatest composers of Western music. In a creative lifetime spanning only 30 years but featuring more than 600 works, he redefined the symphony, composed some of the greatest operas ever written and lifted chamber music to new heights of artistic achievement.

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