A trip to Ruffner Mountain Nature Center would not be complete without a visit to see our Alabama Animals. Most of these Animal Ambassadors live at Ruffner Mountain because they cannot survive in the wild. They receive food, shelter and medical attention while in our care. Many also participate in our educational programs and help thousands of school children and adults learn more about each species, their habitats and how we can help protect our native Alabama wildlife.
The excellent care received by each of our Animal Ambassadors costs money. Your financial support is needed to help us buy food, maintain exhibit habitats, and pay veterinarian bills. By “adopting” the yearly expense of caring for one of our “critters” you can help us continue to offer this wonderful educational experience for young and old alike to enjoy.
For just $40, you can adopt any animal for a year. Adopt an animal today!
Animals available for your “adoption” of their yearly expenses are:
Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans)
Flying Squirrel spends most of her days napping in her nest. Occasionally she will pop her head out or come out to investigate if a tasty treat is in her cage. It is worth leaving her nest for a wax worm or piece of fruit! Flying Squirrel has been at Ruffner Mountain for over eight years.
Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)
Eastern Box Turtle spends many of her days on outings as an animal ambassador. She travels to many schools to teach students about her species. She makes such a good program animal because she is not shy at all. In front of a big group, she sticks her head out and is curious about her surroundings. Her favorite treats are strawberries and earthworms.
Red Ear Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)
Red Ear Slider spends her days swimming around her enclosure and basking on a rock.
She has distinct markings on either side of her head that are red, which is how these turtles get their common name.
River Cooter (Pseudemys concinna concinna)
River Cooter is the largest turtle in the pond. She loves the flowing water and can often be found under the fountain with the water splashing over her. She is also the one who loves her greens the most. The others might take a bite or two, but River Cooter loves to munch on vegetation throughout the day.
Corn Snake (Elaphe guttata guttata)
Ruffner’s two Cornsnakes have beautiful patterns and bright colors. These two spend lots of their time curled up in their hollow log. The way to tell the two apart is by the size of their heads. One is larger than the other. They were easier to distinguish when Small Corn was still a baby!
Grey Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta spiloides)
Grey Rat is our most veracious eater. He is always ready for a mouse. Grey Rat can often be seen climbing vertically in his enclosure. In the wild, these guys can often be found in trees.
Black King Snake (Lampropeltis getula getula)
Black Kingsnake is our newest addition. As the weather warms, he becomes more and more active and can often be seen crawling right next to the glass of his enclosure.
Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
Rattlesnake’s pastimes include curling up in the corner or resting with her head on a log or rock. This is actually a hunting position and she is waiting for prey to come by so she can eat. Rattlesnake uses her rattles to communicate her warning. When Ruffner staff have to move her with a snake hook to clean her cage, she begins rattling her tail.
Barred Owl (Strix varia)
Barred Owl is extremely vocal. He makes a call that sounds like, “Whooo cooks for you? Whooo cooks for you all?” To the staff, it is like hearing our favorite music. No matter how many times your hear it, you never get tired of it. Barred Owl is also very stealth-like. On more than one occasion, he has come mere inches from the tops of a staff members’ heads as he swoops over them when they are cleaning his cage.
Great Horned Owl (Bubo Virginianus)
Great Horned Owl came to us because he got tangled in a barbed wire fence and had extensive damage to his wing which does not allow him to fly. He is most content hiding behind his hide-box. Great Horned is also known for caching part of his food. He will sometimes “hide” one of his mice or rats in order to have something to eat later on.
Eastern Screech Owl (Otus asio)
Grey Eastern Screech Owl is glove-trained and goes on programs to help others understand his species. When he is content, he makes soft trilling noises.