EXHIBITS | ANIMALS
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.”
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.
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.
Adenine, Thymine, Guanine, & Cytosine
Adenine, Thymine, Guanine, and Cytosine are Budgerigars. Parakeets love to sing and talk, and will provide you with endless entertainment. They can even learn to do tricks and count, too! The word "parakeet" means long tail, and they are also called budgerigars. They are named after four of the five nucleobases - adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T) - are called primary or canonical along with the fifth, uracil (U). Nucleobases are nitrogen-containing biological compounds that form nucleosides, which, in turn, are components of nucleotides, with all of these monomers constituting the basic building blocks of nucleic acids.
Crick the Degu
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.
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.
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.
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.
Molly the Sugar Glider
Molly is a sugar glider. Sugar gliders can produce four types of sounds under normal circumstances: barking, hissing, crabbing, and hissing or purring. These sounds can represent many things, just like a human cry, shout, or squeak is used to signify various situations. Molly is named after Molly Schauffler, Assistant Research Professor at the School of Earth and Climate Sciences Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine. She conducts education research in overlapping areas of environmental science and mathematics education.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thomas and Theodore the Sugar Gliders
Thomas and Theordore are father-son duo that are sugar gliders. These marsupials are able to glide up to 45 meters (148.5 ft.) and have been observed to leap at and catch moths in flight. They are named after Thomas Edison (1847-1931) and his son Theodore Edison (1888-1992). One of America's greatest inventors, Edison is responsible for the electric light bulb, the motion picture camera, even the phonograph. Theodore joined his father's company, Thomas A. Edison, Inc. as a lab assistant before he ventured off on his own and formed Calibron Industries. Throughout his career, he held over 80 patents of his own.
Dax the Chincilla
Dax is a chinchilla. Chinchillas are one of the longest-lived rodents, normally with a 20-year lifespan. Their fur is dense, with 50 to 75 hairs springing from a single hair follicle. In contrast, humans have only 2 to 3 hairs growing out of a single follicle. Dax is named for Dax Ovid, a biology and data science education researcher who studies interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning for STEM at the University of Georgia. Dax's work focuses on creating materials and programs in STEM that are inclusive for students from diverse backgrounds by applying scientific research for social change.
Lux the Chinchilla
Max the Chinchilla
Lux is a chinchilla; their natural habitat is the Andes of northern Chile at unforgiving altitudes of 9,800 to over 16,000 feet (hence their thick fur for survival). They typically live in groups and are nocturnal. Lux is named for Hermann Lux (1904-1999), a prominent inorganic chemist from Germany. He extensively studied chemical reactions in molten salts, leading up to the Lux-Flood acid-base theory. According to this theory, acid and base are defined as acid being an oxide acceptor and the base being an oxide donor.
Max is a chinchilla. Chinchillas produce as many as ten different sounds depending upon what’s going on in their environment. Chinchillas in the wild do not bathe in water because water may cause their dense fur to clamp and mat. Instead, chinchillas take dust baths. Max is named for Max Planck (1858-1947), a German theoretical physicist whose discovery of energy quanta won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. He was the originator of quantum theory, which revolutionized human understanding of atomic and subatomic processes.
Mary the Sugar Glider
Mary is a sugar glider. In the wild their diet is made up of insects, small vertebrates, tree sap from Eucalyptus, Acacia and Gum trees, nectar, pollen and fruits. They are native to Australia, Tasmania, Indonesia & Papua-New Guinea. She is named after Mary Somerville (1780-1872), a Scottish scientist, writer, and polymath. In 1834, the British intellectual William Whewell ran into a problem when writing a review of one of Somerville’s books. At that time, practitioners of science were called “men of science.” Because he couldn’t very well refer to Mary Somerville as a “man of science,” he needed another term. So, he invented one: “scientist.” In one sense, therefore, we might say that Mary Somerville was the world’s first scientist.
Caroline the Sugar Glider
Caroline is a sugar glider. Even though they are fur covered, their ears are hairless. Their ears move independent of each other in constant motion picking up sounds. Their tail is used for stability and balance and direction of flight when gliding. She is named after Caroline Herschel (1750-1848), a British astronomer whose most significant contributions to astronomy were the discoveries of several comets, including the periodic comet 35P/Herschel–Rigollet. She was the first woman to receive a salary as a scientist and the first woman in England to hold a government position. In 1835, she and Mary Somerville were elected as the first female Honorary Members of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Bella the Sugar Glider
Bella is a sugar glider. Bella was donated to us at the ripe old age of 14! Sugar gliders can live over 15 years in captivity. They also share a similar level of intellect with dogs, and with the appropriate training, they can pick up skills like learning their name and coming up when called. Bella is named after Isabella Abbott (1919-2020), an educator, phycologist, and ethnobotanist from Hawaii. The first native Hawaiian woman to receive a PhD in science, she became a leading expert on Pacific marine algae. She was considered the foremost authority on the algae of the Pacific Ocean basin and in 2008 she received a lifetime achievement award from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources for her studies of coral reefs.
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
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.
the Bearded Dragon
Nina 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 Nina Tandon, an American biomedical engineer. She is the CEO and co-founder of EpiBone. As a biomedical engineer, she works to force growth and stimulation of cells, using electrical currents. She has grown cells on rat hearts to beat, but her ultimate goal is to have the ability to create a process where scientists can grow entire human organs.
Letty the Leopard Gecko
Letty is a Leopard Gecko. In the wild, they use their keen senses of hearing and sight to avoid threats; and their skin helps them camouflage themselves in their habitat. Letty is named after Cyntha Lindenberg Letty (1895-1985), a South African botanical artist regarded as a doyenne of South African botanical art by virtue of the quality and quantity of her meticulously executed paintings and pencil sketches, produced over a period of 40 years with the National Herbarium in Pretoria.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Sammi is Box Turtle. They are a ground-dwelling turtle but enjoy taking dips in the pond. Box turtles generally live for 25-35 years but have been known to survive to over 100 years old! This species of turtle is native to Florida. She is named after Samantha Cristoforetti—an Italian European Space Agency Astronaut. She holds the record for the longest uninterrupted spaceflight by a European astronaut (199 days, 16 hours). She is also the first Italian woman in space
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.