Those of you who have seen us conduct programs know that we view our education animals as valuable education tools -- ambassadors for their wild cousins. They are NOT pets and we never treat them as such. However, for purposes of our Adopt-an-Animal sponsorship program, we have given each of our education animals a name. We find that children, in particular, would rather sponsor "Scarlet," for example, than "the female Red-tailed hawk." With this in mind, we'd like to introduce you to our "Cast of Characters,"
Part of our mission is to provide a permanent home for more than sixty non-releasable wild animals that are either too sick or too injured to go back into the wild. We've provided biographies for several of these animals on the following pages, but they do not account for a full list of all animals that are cared for by Ohio Nature Education. These animals are as follows:
(9) Southern Flying Squirrels
(3) Great Horned Owls
(2) Barred Owls
(1) Peregrine Falcon
(3) Red Tailed Hawks
(2) Red Shouldered Hawks
(1) Eastern Fox Snake
(5) Eastern Screech Owls
(2) American Kestrels
(2) Turkey Vultures
(1) Silver Fox
(1) Red Fox
(4) Red Fox Mixes
(4) Virginia Opposums
(4) Striped Skunks
(3) Big Brown Bats
(2) American Crows
(2) Eastern Box Turtles
(1) Corn Snake*
(1) Striped Knee Tarantula*
(1) Chilean Rose Haired Tarantula*
* denotes non-native animal
Click or tap the picture of an animal to see a larger version!
Hiboux, which is French for Owl, is a small male Great Horned Owl. Hiboux was infected with the West Nile Virus in the summer of 2002. Even though he was fortunate to survive the virus, he suffers permanent partial paralysis of his left wing.
This is Athena, our female great horned owl. Named for the Greek myth that Athena the Goddess could transform herself into an owl. Athena suffers from neurological symptoms brought on by either a head injury or West Nile virus.
Found on a golf course in Muskingum County as a young, Twitter (from the sound he makes) suffered head trauma and an eye injury most likely from falling out or being pushed out of a nest. He is quite vocal and will sometimes hoot during programs.
Otus came to us from the Back to the Wild wildlife rehabilitation facility in Castalia, Ohio after it was determined that he was non-releasable due to being struck by a car. Otus, named after his the Otus Asio, the latin name for screech owl, is a male, grey Eastern screech owl.
Oz came to us all the way from Kansas. She is a female Barred owl who has a missing toe on one foot and a wing injury that not only prevents flight, but prevents the proper growth of some of her primary feathers. Her injuries were sustained from being caught in a soccer net.
Igor is a permanently injured turkey vulture. Despite the name, Igor is a female. She was found in the spring of 2001 wandering around the grounds of Denison University in Granville, Ohio. Upon further inspection it was discovered that Igor had a detached retina in her left eye and an old healed fracture in her left wing. She is currently being featured in our Birds of Prey, Animals We Love to Hate, and Wildlife as Meteorologists programs.
In March, 2002, Mr. and Mrs. Van traveled to the Back to the Wild rehabilitation facility in Castalia, Ohio to bring home some birds from Back to the Wild. While there, we "adopted" a permanently injured, non-releasable male American Kestrel. The kestrel was born in 2001 and, while a fledgling, was caught by a cat and suffered permanent tendon and nerve damage. We have named him Falco since he is not only a member of the falcon family, but the smallest member.
Introducing Kiki, our female American kestrel. Kiki, who joined us in the Spring of 2004, is named for the "call" that the kestrel makes. She is suffering from an irreparable wing injury, and, therefore, cannot survive in the wild.
Bella is a female red-tailed hawk who came to us from the Columbus Airport area with a wing injury. We received a call from Angela Miller at the Senior Times reporting that they'd been observing a downed hawk on their property for a few days. They'd made calls to several agencies but had heard nothing back until they reached us through one of our vets. An examination of the hawk revealed no apparent fractures, but she was rather thin and was having difficulty flying. Sadly, Bella never improved her ability to fly and could not be released, so she now lives with Scarlet, and, during the summer months, with Igor the Turkey Vulture.
Edgar, for Edgar Allen Crow of course, came to us imprinted. He'd been raised illegally by someone who found him when he was young. We tried to help him regain his natural fear of humans by placing him with our own Velcrow. Unfortunately, he still greets us at the aviary door and will eat out of our hands, therefore he is non-releasable and will be incorporated into programs and keep Velcrow company.
Velcrow suffers from a permanent wing injury and has found his home with Ohio Nature Education. As a clear demonstration as to how smart the crow species is, Velcrow often loves to hide various items throughout his cage.
Reptiles, Amphibians, and Tarantulas
Most turtles are animals that people illegally confiscate from the wild and cannot be returned to prevent spread of disease. Eastern box turtles need to be returned to their home territory or will not survive. Most box turtles spend their entire lives -- which can exceed 100 years -- within 250 yards of the nests where they were born. A box turtle makes a mental map of its home territory and knows exactly where to find food throughout the year. If removed from its home territory, it will make every effort to return. It probably will succeed if moved less than a mile or two away, but probably not if moved further; although it may try for years. We strongly suggest leaving turtles alone. If you see one trying to cross the road, help it by taking it to the side that it was heading in, NOT the direction it was coming from.
While we attempt to keep our education animals to native Ohio species, this Striped Knee Tarantula was purchased for our Spiders program as well as our Animals We Love to Hate program.
Jamie came to ONE in the Summer of 2012 from another rehabilitation center in Ohio. Jamie was confiscated by the Ohio Department of Wildlife as an illegal pet. Due to her becoming accustomed to humans, she cannot be released back into the wild.
Amelia is a southern flying squirrel who came to us from a wildlife rehabilitator. She was orphaned when a cat attacked her mom and litter mates. She came to us at four weeks of age when her eyes were still closed. Amelia required mammal formula feedings via syringe four to five times per day. Now she is feasting on seeds, fruits, nuts and vegetables. Houdini, named for his great skill as an escape artist, is a male southern flying squirrel. With the purchase of a new cage, Ohio Nature Education has been able to keep Houdini under wraps. He was left on a wildlife rehabilitator's doorstep with an anonymous note asking the rehabilitator to care for their "pet." Unfortunately, as is true with all wild animals, Houdini was unsuitable to be a pet, however, because humans raised him, he is also unsuited to life in the wild. Both Amelia and Houdini live with six other flying squirrels.
Echo and Radar are two male Big Brown Bats that were donated to us from the Bat Lab at OSU run by Dr. Mitch Masters. Radar is permanently injured and Echo was orphaned at a very young age.
Luna is a female Big Brown Bat who found her way to Ohio Nature Education in the spring of 1998. Only two days old, she was discovered by a wildlife rehabilitator in Licking County, Ohio. It appeared she had fallen off of her mother. Her eyes were still closed and she was covered with peach fuzz-like fur, not to mention her umbilical cord was still attached. She was raised by one of the ONE staff who has the appropriate training and permits to raise orphaned bats. Though Luna is able to fly, she is not releasable. Wild bats are taught by their mothers to "echolocate," or find hibernicula (places to hibernate). Luna does not have this vital training, however she serves as an important ambassador because she teaches people that bats are amazing, highly beneficial creatures.