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Animated Animals

Gopher Snake!

One of the perks of working at the Desert Museum is never knowing what cute creature you might run into! When disturbed, the gopher snake will rise to a striking position, flatten its head into a triangular shape, hiss loudly and shake its tail at the intruder. These defensive behaviors, along with its body markings, frequently cause the gopher snake to be mistaken for a rattlesnake. The tapered tail, the absence of a rattle, the lack of a facial pit, and the round pupils all distinguish the gopher snake from the rattlesnake. Video: Horticultuist Duffek

Live for National Zookeeper Week Part III

In this Instagram Live video, you will meet three incredible keepers from our HIIZ (Herpetology, Ichthyology & Invertebrate Zoology) department. AND meet two rattlesnakes, a scorpion, and chuckwalla! Our zookeepers work in 100+ degree heat, clean up all different types of poop, and make sure our animals have the best lives. We’re so grateful to our dedicated keepers and the excellent support and care they provide for all of our Sonoran Desert creatures. Make sure to leave them some love in the comments!

Live for National Zookeeper Week Part II

Live for National Zookeeper Week Part I

Science Sunday!

It's time for a science sunday! Who can ID this red racer? Video: Horticultuist Kim

Enrichment for Jamie

Jamie the gray fox is part of the Interpretive Animal Collection here at the Museum where he serves as an Animal Ambassador! Jamie (just like all of the animals at the Museum) receives daily enrichment to help stimulate his mind and body. You can see here that he was particularly interested in a branch of ‘Yellow bells’. Many times keepers will take the same enrichment and put it in one habitat after another as not only the item provides enrichment but the smells from the previous animal does too. Video: Keeper Ashley

Prairie Dog Cuddles

There’s always prairie dog cuddles! Video: Keeper Ashley

Strawberry plays tetherball!

Keeper Jenny caught some footage of Strawberry the Black Bear playing tetherball! Wait until the end where Strawberry shows off her beary good skills! Video: Keeper Jenny

Night explores the Desert Museum!

Night, one of the incredible Animal Ambassadors here at the Museum took an enrichment walk around grounds a few months ago when we had just shut down and before it was too hot! This walk not only provided excellent mental stimulation for Night but enrichment for the animals that she came across! Before anyone is worried about the other animals she "encountered", Night is actually blind but loved listening to the new sounds she encountered (she particularly was interested in the crunchy leaves underfoot).

Happy World Otter Day!

Happy World Otter Day from our favorite resident river otter, Dot!

Did you know that river otters are sensitive to water pollution and are considered keystone species (which is a species that plays a crucial role in the way an ecosystem properly functions), because their health can mirror quality of aquatic waterways? This is one of the many reasons these otterly adorable creatures are so important!

Want to help support Dot? Become a Proud Parent today and help provide her with all of her favorite treats (especially fish). Your symbolic adoption will help us provide the highest quality care to this captivating critter!

Broad-billed Hummingbird Momma!

Check out this quick snippet of a Broad-billed hummingbird momma feeding her chicks sent to us by Keeper Emily from a wildlife camera set up in the hummingbird aviary! Fun fact: Keepers set up wildlife cameras to monitor the health of the hummingbirds and their young during nesting season.

Happy 15th Birthday!

It was the male big horn sheep’s 15th birthday so of course our wonderful keepers threw him a birthday party!

Keeper Jenny, who absolutely adores this handsome gentleman, was the mastermind behind his birthday cake created from ice blocks covered in a yam-molasses icing with graham cracker crumb and grain sprinkles! The words were created out of jicama and the candles were jojoba. Lastly, the cake was surrounded by alfalfa “presents” wrapped with grape vine — yum!

The incredible male big horn sheep arrived at the Museum at just seven months old. He has been an excellent father (who was very patient and protective) of several lambs who were born here at the Museum. From Keeper Jenny, “Although rams are an iconic symbol of strength, he is not the bravest… new toys have to be investigated by the girls first. Snowman enrichment, puzzle feeders, you name it! We actually expected him to be too afraid of his cake, but were pleasantly surprised that he came down right away!”

Dinnertime with the striped skunk!

Make sure your sound is on for this striped skunk cutie munching down on his afternoon meal of worms, watermelon, yam, carrots, peas, kibble, and his favorite - meatball! Video: Keeper Emily

Desert Tortoise Enrichment!

After receiving "The Bruce" as a sick hatchling from an ASDM docent who rescued him, Kim (a horticulturist here at the Museum) now ensures that Bruce is living his best life! Bruce is now 31 years old and even though he is a "runt" for his age he seems to be a pretty happy tortoise. Kim even ensures that his mind and body stay active by providing him with flower petal enrichment as seen in this adorable timelapse video!

Strawberry takes a bath!

Thanks to Keeper Jenny who keeps catching the most adorable footage of Strawberry the Black Bear enjoying her pool duirng these warm "almost" summer days.

An Otterly Awesome Time!

Video: Keeper Whitney

Black Bear yoga in the pool

When the weather forecast predicts over 90 degree days this weekend… Thanks to Keeper Jenny for this adorable video of Strawberry the Black Bear taking her yoga into the pool to cool off.

Mountain Kingsnake shed

Watch this incredible time lapse of a Mountain kingsnake (Lampropeltis knoblochi) shed caught by Keeper Tony.

Herpetology, Insect, and Invertebrate Zoology curator, Howard says, “When a snake sheds its skin, it’s like oil of olay for reptiles! As they relieve themselves of their former skin, it turns inside out, just like taking your sock off! They can get rid of shallow cactus spines, ecto-parasites, and skin imperfections. This renewal process occurs in snakes both young and old. Young, rapidly-growing snakes may shed a few times a year, while mature animals may shed as little as once per year. If only we could shed our skin, we might age a little better! Ok. I’ll just speak for myself there.” Pretty cool, right?

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Double the corn, double the trouble

Thanks to Keeper Whitney for one of our favorite videos ever of the Black-tailed prairie dogs in our care!

Nom, nom, nom!

How many of you have at least 5-10 crane flies in your house on any given day? Well, lucky for us, the Arizona Unicorn Mantis's in our care like to chow down on them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yum? We're not complaining, we appreciate the help!

Also, is it just us or does this unicorn mantis seem to be doing a happy dance while they eat?

Video: Tony Palmer

Anna's Hummingbird Building a Nest!

Spring is one of our favorite times of the year!

Two weeks ago we caught this cute female Anna's hummingbird bringing materials (dog down provided by the Keepers) to help build her nest!

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“We booked a MuZoom for our granddaughter’s birthday. It was a home-run experience! She loved it, and the porcupine was terribly cute!”
-Bobby Present