Fishing Kittens Born at the Greensboro Science Center on April 3

The Greensboro Science Center (GSC) is happy to announce that two fishing cats were born on Friday, April 3, 2020. The sex of the kittens is unknown at this time. This is the second litter of kittens born to Mako (male) and Tallulah (female) as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) fishing cat Species Survival Plan (SSP).

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Animal care staff have observed encouraging behaviors from both mom and kittens. Keeper Megan Hankins says, “Mom and kittens are doing well and eating well. Tallulah is very attentive to and protective of her babies and is taking great care of them.”

Keepers will continue to keep their distance from the new family as they settle in. Once Tallulah is comfortable being away from her babies, the GSC’s veterinary team will give the kittens a full exam.

It will be approximately three months before the kittens will be on exhibit – after they are able to easily move around, get in and out of the water, jump and climb.

Fishing cats typically stay with their mother until they reach around nine months of age. Rachael Campbell, Assistant Curator Terrestrial, says, “That is about the time that they would normally disperse on their own in the wild and you will see Tallulah actively trying to push them out at that point. They will not be introduced to Mako again. In the wild they are solitary so males play no role in raising the kittens.”

The GSC will continue to update the public on the kittens’ progress on the organization’s social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Preparing for Winter: Reptiles & Amphibians

The Greensboro Science Center is home to a number of reptiles and amphibians, including four awesome Aldabra tortoises! Although they live at the GSC all year long, during your winter visit, you won’t see these guys out and about in our zoo.

As cold-blooded animals, Aldabra tortoises need warm weather to stay healthy. When temperatures dip below about 60 degrees, they remain inside their blockhouses where the temperature is maintained at a toasty 80 degrees and where they have access to heat lamps and UV lamps.

You probably notice in your very own backyard that you don’t see turtles, snakes, frogs, and the like during winter. Many of these animals hibernate during the colder months. If you see one around as the temperatures begin to cool, the best thing to do is to leave it alone. If the animal is in an unsafe location, you can move it to a brushy area where it can burrow and hide. To help local reptiles and amphibians, you can create brush piles in your yard where they can stay warm and safe through winter!

Cassowaries Arrive at the Greensboro Science Center

GREENSBORO, NC — The Greensboro Science Center (GSC) is pleased to announce the arrival of the very first animals acquired for Revolution Ridge, the GSC’s zoo expansion (expected to be completed in 2020). A sibling pair (a male named Dodo and a female named Moa) of southern cassowaries have recently arrived from California and will be spending the next few weeks in quarantine.

Hospital and Commissary Keeper Jennie Burleyson is charged with caring for the cassowaries as they complete their quarantine period. “Quarantine is a mandatory period of time that all new animals go through to make sure they are healthy enough to join the current collection,” Burleyson says. “It’s also a great way to learn about the individuals and their preferences. For example, we’ve learned that our cassowaries’ favorite food is grapes!”

At just 5 months old, the cassowaries are currently sporting their light brown juvenile plumage. Brightly colored feathers come with maturity and typically appear by age 4. The young birds are only about 3 feet tall, but adults can reach up to 5.8 feet in height. The male currently weighs approximately 24 pounds and the female weighs about 16.5 pounds. Adult weights average around 121 pounds for males and 167 pounds for females. Once fully grown, the cassowaries will loosely resemble a modern-day velociraptor and possess specialized feet and claws capable of inflicting serious damage, if threatened.

Burleyson tells us that currently, the male is relatively shy while the female is much more dominant. The birds have enjoyed playing in pools indoors and getting a little exercise outside. “At least 30 minutes of exercise is recommended for cassowaries at this age,” Burleyson says. “That’s why it’s so great having two young ones — they can play together!”

The cassowaries will remain in quarantine until cleared by the GSC veterinarian. After that time, they will be placed in a temporary holding space until their new exhibit in Revolution Ridge is complete. Thanks to The Dillard Fund, Inc., the new cassowary exhibit will combine a dense forest with the open field habitat necessary for breeding this highly unique, shy and rarely-observed species.

GSC CEO Glenn Doborogosz says, “The blends of color, beauty, speed and ferocity of this primitive flightless bird will inspire awe and interest in our guests. The goal is to transform that awe into knowledge, because knowledge and appreciation are the keys to conserving species across the globe.”