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ZooAmerica Welcomes New Animals in Summer 2021

Lynx Kittens, Prairie Dog Pups, an Alligator Snapping Turtle and more Have Arrived!

It's been an exciting (and busy) start to summer at ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park. Within the last two months, the zoo team celebrated the birth of 12 prairie dog pups and two Canada lynx kittens. The team also welcomed a female alligator snapping turtle from the St. Louis Zoo, a southern painted turtle from the Milton Hershey School and a skunk from another facility in Pennsylvania. Read on to learn more about the new arrivals.

Birth of Two Canada Lynx Kittens

Two Canada lynx kittens, Becca and Roxy, were born at ZooAmerica to parents, Wren and Woody, on May 3, 2021.

Wren, 8, and Woody, 16, are a recommended breeding pair by the Association of Zoos and Aquarium's Canada Lynx Species Survival Plan. This is their second litter within the last two years.  Three kittens made up the litter in 2020 and one of them continues to reside at ZooAmerica. When the new kittens are large enough, all the lynx will be able to share the habitat until some of the juveniles move onto other zoos. The young from 2020 have already initiated positive contact and play with the kittens through the mesh of the two lynx areas.

The new kittens are being cared for exclusively by their mother, Wren. Guests have seen the kittens playing at random times in a smaller area of the exhibit reserved for Wren and her babies. The family is often sleeping in their den, so kitten sightings cannot be guaranteed. Stay tuned to the ZooAmerica Facebook page for updates on their progress and growth.

Birth of Prairie Dog Pups

Twelve prairie dog pups were spotted in Big Sky Country at ZooAmerica on June 1, 2021.

Although named for their barking alarm call, black-tailed prairie dogs are actually burrowing ground squirrels. Their burrows can be found on the flat ground, as well as within the mound in the center of their habitat. Black-tailed prairie dogs are active all year but are rarely out during the night. During the hotter summer months, they might emerge only during the cooler hours of the day. If you visit the zoo this summer, keep an eye out for them!


Arrival of Alligator Snapping Turtle

A female alligator snapping turtle named Louise became the newest resident to the Southern Swamps at ZooAmerica in mid-June 2021.

The alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America. The 29-pound turtle came to Hershey from the St. Louis Zoo. She was originally found in 2014 in an area that acts as a sanitary sewer and storm drainage for the city. It is believed that she was formerly a pet and intentionally released. 

Arrival of Southern Painted Turtle

Frida, the Southern Painted Turtle, is the first animal you will meet at ZooAmerica on your next visit! She lives in the Admissions area and will gladly greet guests when they first enter. Frida did not travel far, as she was originally living at the Milton Hershey School Environmental Center. She was named for the artist, Frida Kahlo, and is believed to be about 14 years old. Frida loves to eat and her favorites include turtle chow, mealworms, greens, cranberries and chunks of fish. 

Southern Painted Turtles are found as far north as Illinois, but their range includes most of the slow moving waters of the southeast. They are a small species and rarely grow longer than 7 inches. The females are a bit larger than the males!

Arrival of Baby Striped Skunk

Daisy, a baby striped skunk, was born on May 5, 2021 at another facility in Pennsylvania. She was descented, meaning she cannot spray. But, since she is a skunk, she is still a little stinky due to scent glands all around her body which help her mark her territory.

Daisy is an ambassador animal and lives in one of the Education rooms at ZooAmerica, which is not open to the public. Zoo educators have been doing training with Daisy to get her ready to eventually meet zoo guests. Daisy is always willing to train with us due to being very food motivated. Eating is definitely her favorite activity! Daisy‚Äôs typical diet consists of produce, chow, meat, and bugs. Since she is teething right now, she also gets to sink her sharp teeth into a lot of treats and chew toys! 

Daisy, along with our 4 other striped skunks (Betty, Stella, Winifred, and Mildred), are all in our education department and are not able to be seen by the public on a daily basis. 

Visit the Zoo this Summer

ZooAmerica is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in July 2021. Regular admission for guests ages 9-61 is $13. Juniors and seniors are $11 and children 2 and younger are free.

Did you know ZooAmerica is included in the one-price admission to Hersheypark when entering the zoo through the Hersheypark bridge during posted park hours? Guests can take a break from coaster riding and head over to the zoo to see the new arrivals and other North American animals.