Meet Our Animal Ambassadors!


It takes a lot of time and resources to keep all of the museum’s animals healthy and happy. Why do we do it? Quite simply, we love animals!

Many of our animals come to us from rehabilitation facilities and cannot be released back into the wild. We care for them and allow them to serve as ambassadors – interacting with visitors to promote understanding about their species and their habitats in the natural world. 

Meet some of our Animal Ambassadors…


Cha Cha – Corn Snake

Corn snakes are a type of rat snake and are named for the pattern of their belly scales. (Can you see a corn shape on Cha Cha’s scales?) They are known to be good climbers. Corn snakes are carnivores and eat rats, mice, and other small rodents.

Penny – Virginia Opossum

Virginia opossums like Penny are marsupials and females carry their young in a pouch as they mature. When they feel threatened, opossums can appear to be unconscious or dead. That’s called, “playing possum”. 

Bella – Barbados Blackbelly Sheep

Bella is not a goat! She and her son Benji Boo are a special variety of sheep bred for their meat, not their wool. They will shed their winter coats when the weather is warm.


Hedwig – Eastern Screech Owl

This robin-sized nightbird is common in the eastern U.S., including in city parks and shady suburbs. (Do you have an owl for a neighbor?) Hedwig spends the day roosting, becoming active at dusk. Like most other screech owls, he does not screech.

Flapjack the eastern spiny softshell turtle

Flapjack – Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle

Where do eastern spiny softshells get their name? They are named for the spiny projections along the front edge of their carapaces (upper shells) – SPINY.  Those flat carapaces are covered with leathery skin instead of bony plates – SOFTSHELL.

Mike & Lucky – Mini Hereford Steers

Hereford steers are popular beef cattle, known for their hearty health and gentle dispositions. Since Mike and Lucky are mini Herefords, they will only weigh 600-1000 lbs. as adults.


Obi – Eastern Kingsnake

Common in North Carolina, Kingsnakes like Obi live in forests, fields, and even urban areas. They are useful to have around because they eat venomous snakes and rodents like rats and mice.

Spike – Alligator Snapping Turtle

Spike can hold his breath for a long time! To lure food, alligator snapping turtles will often lay on the bottom of a pond or riverbed for up to 50 minutes with their jaws open to reveal what looks like a delicious wriggling worm. A fish that is fooled by the turtle’s tongue will swim right into its mouth. 

Albert – Eastern Collared Lizard

Collared lizards eat a variety of insects such as grasshoppers, beetles, and moths. They also eat spiders, small snakes, and even other lizards! They are one of few lizards that are capable of bipedal motion – running on two legs. If a collared lizard loses its tail, it does not grow back.

Aroma – Striped Skunk

Striped skunks like Aroma are typically solitary, docile animals, but don’t make them angry! When threatened, a skunk can spray a noxious scent up to 15 feet. Although they don’t truly hibernate in the winter, they experience extended periods of inactivity during cold months.

Franklin – Nubian Goat

While Franklin is very good-natured and can even walk on a leash, Nubian goats often engage in rearing and head-butting to establish dominance in their goat groups. They also emit a high-pitched sneezing sound and stomp one forefoot if alarmed. 

Find these ambassadors and many more in the museum and at The Farm.

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By providing a second chance at life to non-releasable and unwanted animals, The Schiele is able to provide education, inspiration, and hope for the next generation.