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Blog Animals

The other side of the coin…animal arrivals

We try to share the stories of what goes on with the Museum’s animals– even the goodbyes. Most recently, we lost our skunk Florian. The reports of the goodbyes to long-time Museum residents (Misha the hawk) or big, beloved mammalian friends (Auggie the pig and Virginia the bear), or social media superstars (Chandler the opossum) can often feel overwhelming. After all, most of these species live only a handful of years.

I have literally said goodbye to hundreds of animals. It is part of the job. It’s not an easy part, but it’s a known part. Over the years I have learned to reflect on my months or years with the critters, the time with them, the lessons I’ve learned from them, and the gratitude I feel for the happy memories they have created for thousands and thousands of humans. (I am a fan of Dr. Laurie Santos’ work. In general, while I don’t often succeed, practicing mindfulness and gratitude help me ride the tide of not only working with non-human critters but for life in general).

Sometimes the goodbyes overshadow the hellos. (Probably true in life too… we can often focus too much on our losses rather than our gains). So today, let’s look at some of the animals that have arrived in the past year. You are aware of our small, yet biggest arrival, Little bear, but it’s almost been a full year since we welcomed Milton, our first mink, to the Museum. Super cute. Super smart, and a really great rescue and addition to our Carolina Wildlife habitat area.

mink looks at camera


We’ve added other rescues to our Carolina Wildlife habitat too. Three rescued birds joined our Aviary. All three birds were considered non-releasable due to wing or head injuries, along with failed flight tests. We’re happy to have them here with us. Come to Carolina Wildlife, and be quiet, and patient, and you may get a chance to see any or all of them.

catbird in foliage
Photo credit: Animal Care Mary
Young dove, or orange-band dove, is now one of two mourning doves in our aviary


Waldo, our bluebird, tends to be high in the aviary… look up to try to see him.


Young dove and Waldo hanging out together up near the top of the aviary.

We also have a new water snake, Polo, you can visit when you are in Carolina Wildlife. He’s beautiful. He was born at the Natural Sciences Museum in Raleigh. His mother was confiscated, and she happened to be gravid at the time. We are fortunate that he is able to be here for us all to see.


snake lifts head above fern branch


Diesel, our youngest bearded dragon, arrived late spring 2021. She makes me smile. She eats her veggies. She lives behind the scenes and she accompanies our Educators when they do programs for schools, birthday parties, or other Museum events.


An here’s a sneak peak at our most recent addition. Cricket. No, not a cricket, his name is Cricket, and he’s a kestrel. He arrived on January 12. Kestrels are the smallest member of the falcon family (in this country, and I believe on this continent). He’s about the size and weigh of a bluejay, and weighs the same as my deck of cards. We look forward to sharing more news about him in the future.