Meet the NBS Animals!
Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis borealis)
NBS currently has two resident Red-Tailed hawks. These birds are common raptors that live all over north America, including in deserts, farmlands, forests, rainforests, and urban areas. The only parts of North America where they are not found are arctic areas, and places where the forest is vast, dense and unbroken - because the hawks can't see their prey through the trees!
In the wild, Red-Tailed Hawks eat small mammals, such as rabbits, bats and rodents, as well as reptiles and other small birds. Our two hawks can no longer hunt on their own, because of injuries that prevent them from flying and seeing well.
Red-Tailed hawks are brown on thier backs, and white underneath, which helps to camouflage them while flying. From above, their darker colors blend into the land, while from below the white underbelly looks lighter, to match the sky.
Ball Python (Python regius)
Ball Pythons got their name because when they get scared they curl up into a tight ball, and don’t move. Another common name for snakes like these is a “Royal Python”. This name comes from the belief that Cleopatra used to wear a ball python around her wrist!
Speaking of Cleopatra, and the beautiful continent of Africa, that’s where these snakes are from. You won’t find any Ball pythons in your backyard! They are native to the forest edges and grasslands of many African countries, encluding Ghana, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal!
Ball Pythons are crepuscular animals, which means they are most active at dusk and dawn. This is a good time for them to find their favorite food which is small mammals such as mice or rats.
Micah came to us from Hope Douglas and Wind Over Wings of Clinton, Connecticut. Micah has an impact injury, which has impaired his vision to the point where he cannot see very clearly. His eyes blink at different times, and therefore he cannot fly or hunt very accurately. Because of this he was brought to Wind Over Wings. While there he served as a surrogate father for orphaned owlets. When Micah’s last group left he became distressed and plucked a large quantity of his feathers out. In an attempt to alleviate some of the stress, Micah was brought to NBS to give him a fresh start. He now has his feathers back and happily hoots to the owls in our yew forest.
Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps)
Bearded dragons are reptiles, native to the arid and semi-arid woodlands and deserts of central Australia. They are solitary animals, but when they do come across other Bearded Dragons in the wild, they communicate by bobbing their heads and inflating the loose skin under the jaw, which looks like a spiky beard - thus the name!
One of the adaptations to their habitat is the sandy coloring of their skin. It helps the reptiles blend into the desert and dry woodlands. This coloring that helps an animal blend into it's habitat is called camouflage.
Like all reptiles, Bearded Dragons are exothermic (or "cold blooded
Corn Snake (Elaphe gutatta gutatta)
Corn snakes got their name because farmers used to find them in their corn fields. Farmers used to think Corn Snakes liked to eat corn, but in reality, they were there to feed on the mice that ate the corn!
Corn Snakes can be found from New Jersey south to Key West, Florida, and west thru Texas and Oklahoma. They can be found in a variety of habitats including hardwood forests, Sandy pine woods, swamps, farm fields and even the suburbs!
Their favorite food is small baby mice, and they may eat as often as every 5 or 6 days as a baby, but when they grow to adult size, they will only need to eat once every 10 days. Even as a full-grown adult, Corn Snakes will still be less than 5 feet long.
Donated from the Potter League, Scarface came from a hoarding situation in Newport, involving more than 40 cats. When the house was cleaned out, an aquarium was found on the ground, and it was in disgusting condition. Under the water bowl, Scarface was curled up, not moving. He was so emaciated that you could see all of his bones. After months of rehabilitation at Potter League, we brought him to NBS. He’s now full-sized, and fully active!
Netherlands Dwarf Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)
NBS's resident rabbit was only born with three legs, but this doesn't seem to bother her in the least! Her ancestors come from England, but she is a domestic breed of rabbit, which means that she is very different from the wild cottontail rabbits seen in New England. She is smaller, and her fur looks and feels different.
These rabbits have long ears and a sensitive nose, so they can sense their predators from far away. They also have a wide field of vision, because their eyes are on the sides of their heads (binocular vision) instead of on the front, like ours are. This helps them to watch out for predators as well.
Rabbits have long hind legs to leap quickly, and strong claws for digging. Many types of rabbits will burrow underground for shelter. Some will make nests, called forms, while others live socially in complex burrow networks called warrens.
Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapine ornate)
These Box Turtles are native to the Great Plains and prairies of the central United States. In the wild, they are opportunistic omnivores, which means they eat whatever is available - including bugs, mushrooms, fallen berries, flowers, grass, duckweed and dead vertebrates!
The shells are made of bone, which is covered in scales. Unlike some turtle species, the Ornate Boxed Turtle shell is hinged. This means they can close up their shell completely, and predators have nothing to bite or hang on to: the turtles can stay snug inside their shell until it is safe to come out again. The upper shell is called a carapace and the lower shell is a plastron. Each segment on the shell is a specialized scale called a scute.
In the wild, Ornate Box Turtles will lay 2-8 eggs at a time, once or twice a year. They bury the eggs in a hole in the ground and leave them there. Like most reptiles, the turtles do not guard their nest, and the young are on their own from the moment they hatch.
Ornate Wood Turtle
Tuga is a Central American Ornate Wood Turtle. Tuga lives with Boxer, our male Ornate Box Turtle. She can often be found wading in her pool, as these wood turtles spend nearly ¾ of their life in the water! They are very friendly, and eat a huge range of food, anywhere from crickets to baby mice! Tuga’s favorite food is tomatoes, and she will pick through her entire bowl until she finds them! With beautiful red-orange swirly markings and huge eyes, she’s definitely something to look at!
Dumbo Rat (Rattus norvegicus)
Unlike many of the other animals here at the Sanctuary, rats prefer to live with people. They are extremely smart, and have learned and adapted to live with humans.
Some rats are domesticated, such as Katrina and Yvette - they live with us as education animals. Other rats are feral, which means they aren't pets. Feral rats find food largely by scavenging for things that people throw away. They are generally urban animals, which means that they prefer cities and suburbs over the wild.
These rats originally came from Asia, and spread to Europe. They travelled across the Atlantic Ocean with humans on the ships, and finally made it to North America.
Red-Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)
Rosie, and other Red-eared Sliders get their name from the bright red markings on the sides of their heads. In the wild, they prefer to live in ponds and slow-moving rivers. These Turtles are native to parts of the southern United States. However, it is very important to remember that, even though they are sold in pet stores around the country, they should never be released into the wild! When introduced to new areas, red-eared sliders can cause serious problems to the native ecosystem.
These aquatic turtles have a stremlined shell to help them move easily through the water, and webbed feet that help them to swim, and walk on top of the mud.
Female Red-eared Sliders are larger than the males, as with many species of turtles. The gender of each turtle is determined by the temperature around their eggs. If the nest is warm, it will produce females, while cool nests make males!
Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
Little Jo has been living at the Sanctuary for a long time. She is a native species to Rhode Island. Painted Turtles like Little Jo can be found in rivers, lakes, ponds and marshes all over North America, and they prefer soft, muddy bottoms which help to keep them warm.
Unlike the Box Turtles, Painted Turtles can not close their shells completely, but they can pull all their limbs inside. They have webbed feet that helps them to swim through the water, and their shell is smooth and flat. The red markings on the shell, and red and yellow stripes on their neck make them look like they have been painted, which is how they get their name!
In the wild, Painted Turtles will eat crickets, maggots, beetles and larvae while they are young. As they grow older, they add duckweed, algea and waterlilies to their diet. Little Jo eats crickets, mealworms, vegetables and fruits.
Madagascar Hissing Cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa)
These guys are from — you guessed it — Madagascar, an island off the southeastern coast of Africa. Like lots of other islands, many plants and animals that are found there live only in that particular place! This is one of those animals — in the wild, they live only in Madagascar, where they play an important role helping to break down rotting plant material. In fact, you might call them nature’s garbage collector!
They are insects, so they have six legs and three body sections (head, thorax, and abdomen). They don’t have bones like you — instead, their body is supported by a hard outer coating known as an exoskeleton. Like other insects, they belong to a group of animals known as Arthropods (this term means “jointed feet” in Greek).
Madagascar Hissing cockroaches have small black spots down the top side of their abdomens, which they use to breathe. When they get scared, they make a hissing noise by blowing air through these pores - that's why they are called "hissing" cockroaches!