Big & Furry
See some of the zoo’s most popular animals: nature’s “charismatic megafauna.”
CollapseAmerican black bears range from black to brown, grow six feet long, and weigh up to 600 pounds. Solitary animals, they roam huge territories that often overlap. They are classified as carnivores but often eat a more omnivorous diet featuring grasses, berries, insects, fish, mammals, and carrion. In winter, females birth two or three cubs and nurse them until spring. Cubs stay with the female for a couple years before venturing into the world on their own
CollapseBactrian camels are imposing animals that can reach seven feet in height and weigh up to 1,500 pounds. Their thick brown coat changes with the seasons, and both males and females have two large humps on their back. These grazing mammals favor grasses, leaves, and shrubs, but they can also stomach thorns and dry vegetation that are indegestible to other herbivores. This enables them to survive in areas of sparse vegetation. In the wild, Bactrian camels form herds of up to 30 members led by a single breeding male. Males that are unable to find mates often gather in single-sex bachelor herds. Juveniles mature after about five years, with individuals living up to five decades.
CollapseChimpanzees range in color from black to gray, and each individual’s face features a unique blend of colors, hairlines, and facial hair. These omnivores feed primarily on fruits, insects, and small animals, including other primates. They live in large “fission-fusion” societies, frequently splintering into smaller groups and re-gathering. Males establish a hierarchy that influences breeding, but mating is fluid between a variety of partners. Offspring are dependent on their troop for up to six years. Female chimpanzees sometimes migrate into new groups at adolescence while males remain with their birth group.
CollapsePigs vary greatly across several hundred breeds, though most are short, fleshy, and sparsely covered in hair. All have hoofed paws at the end of short legs. Also known as hogs, these mammals are opportunistic omnivores, eating everything from grains to greens to table scraps. They use their snout to turn over soil in search for food. Lacking sweat glands, they coat themselves in mud to protect their sensitive skin from the sun.
CollapseEastern black rhinoceroses stand up to five feet high at the shoulder, span 12 feet in length, weigh up to 3,000 pounds, and have two fibrous keratin horns. As a herbivorous browser, black rhinos primarily eat leafy plants, branches, shoots, thorny wood bushes, and fruit. Their skin harbors many external parasites, which are eaten by tickbirds and egrets that from a symbiotic relationship with the rhinos. Mating is non-seasonal and gestation lasts 15–16 months, after which a single calf is born. Newborns weigh about 75 pounds and are active soon after birth.
CollapseStanding 19 feet tall, giraffes are the tallest ground-dwelling animals in the world. Females are slightly shorter than males, but both genders have tan and brown coats. Their front legs are longer than their back legs, giving their body a sloping appearance. Both males and females have horn-like structureds called ossicornes on the top of their head, although males develop additional bony growths along their skull as they age. Giraffes gather in fluid herds of up to 40 individuals.
CollapseGray seals have short necks, widely set nostrils, and few spots compared to some other seals. They can measure up to 11 feet long and weigh nearly 900 pounds. Females are silver-gray with scattered dark spots while males are dark gray with silver-gray spots. Grey seals are opportunistic predators, feeding on fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. Females reach sexual maturity after about four years and give birth to a single pup with dense, woolly white fur after an 11-month gestation period. Pups grow quickly by nursing on fat-rich milk.
CollapseHarbor seals can reach up to six feet in length, with males usually slightly larger than females. Specially adapted flippers help these aquatic mammals move quickly through the water while a thick coat of waterproof fur helps them stay warm. Harbor seals range from light gray to dark brown in color, and their fur is accented with colored spots and rings. They primarily feed on fish, mollusks, squid, and crustaceans. After breeding, females give birth to a pup on land. Newborns can swim and dive within hours.
CollapseHoffmann's two-toed sloths are solitary, largely nocturnal, arboreal animals. These sloths spend most of their time in trees, though they may travel across the ground to move to a new tree. Hoffman's two-toed sloths are some of the world's slowest mammals—so slow, in fact, that algae grows on their furry coat. The plant gives them a greenish tint that serves as camouflage in dense rainforests.
CollapseJapanese macaques are medium-sized primates with a thick coat that insulates them during cold winters. Their compact body and stumpy tail help reduce heat loss and risk of frostbite. They are also referred to as "snow monkeys" due to their prevalance in colder locales. They have a distinctive red face that grows brighter during breeding season. In the wild, their diet changes seasonally and features fruit, flowers, seeds, leaves, roots, and buds. They live in troops of up to 100 individuals.
CollapseNorth American river otters have long, streamlined bodies that help them move easily through the water, propelled by their webbed feet. Their brown waterproof fur helps them retain heat. These otters feed on fish, crayfish, insects, turtles, frogs, and other water animals. They live alone or in family groups consisting of a female and her offspring. Females retreat to dens to give birth to their young, called kits, which take to the water after only two months.
CollapsePlains zebras have broader stripes than other zebra species, and their stripes become even broader and more horizontal toward their flank and rear. The stripes near their neck and forelimbs are more vertical and continue into their mane. Plains zebras primarily graze on grass, herbs, leaves, and twigs. Females in each harem, led by a stallion and alpha mare, can give birth to one foal each year.
CollapsePolar bears can grow up to eight feet long and weigh up to 1700 pounds. Their distinctive coat is composed of long, transparent hairs, which reflect light to display a white appearance. Their small ears and short tail help limit heat loss in their icy environment while large paws help them navigate thin ice by spreading out their weight. Polar bears are carnivorous, preying mostly on seals.
CollapseNamed for their red-tinged fur, red wolves are smaller than gray wolves, their better-known cousins. Males are typically larger than females and can weigh up to 90 pounds. They prey on a range of species, including raccoons, deer, rodents, and small mammals. Packs typically consist of a breeding pair and their offspring from the previous year, although they sometimes form larger groups. Females rear their young in well-hidden dens near stream banks, downed logs, sand knolls, or even drain pipes and culverts.
CollapseWestern lowland gorillas, one of the largest living primates, can grow up to six feet tall and over 400 pounds. All gorillas have a black coat but adult males also have a silvery-white "saddle" on their back. Gorillas are herbivorous, primarily feeding on leaves, stems, and fruit. Troops are made up of a dominant silverback, multiple females, and their young. Mating is non-seasonal and offspring are born after nine months. After maturing, males leave to form their own troop or join a bachelor group while females leave to join another established group.