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The animal ambassadors at PAROC inspire visitors to learn more about their needs for survival and steps we can all take to help conserve these species in their native habitats.

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Ruby

Hi, my name is Ruby! I am a red-eared slider. (Trachemys scripta elegans)

  • I was donated to Pitt state and then passed on to Emporia. 

  • I like attention and basking on my rock. 

  • I am semiaquatic, so I live on land and in water. 

  • I am naturally native to the southeast United states but can be found anywhere.

Life span: 30 - 40 years old. Sometimes longer in captivity. 

Diet: Omnivores

Fun fact: We can communicate through vibrations 

Conservation status: Low risk - Near threatened. 

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Turtilina

Hi, my name is Turtilina. I am an ornate box turtle. (Terrapene ornata)

  • We are Kansas’s state reptile!

  • I was rescued by the maintenance staff here at ESU and have been here for 3 years.

  • I lay eggs, and the gender is determined by the temperature at which the eggs are kept at.

Life span: 30 - 40 years (sometimes even longer!)

Diet: Omnivores, I really like strawberries.

Fun Fact: We are strictly terrestrial turtles. You can also tell our gender from our eye color, females have brown eyes and males have red.

Conservation status: Threatened due to habitat loss.

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Snappy

Hi, my name is Snappy. I am a common snapping turtle. (Chelydra serpentina)

  • I like to sit under my log and stretch my neck as far as I can reach.

  • I was rescued from a driveway after a bad storm.

  • I am very little at the moment but I can get up to 8 - 18 ½ inches!

  • I am not very friendly and will bite.

  • Life span: 30 - 47 years old.

Diet: Omnivores, anything that fits in my mouth.

Fun fact: You can find us from southeastern Canada all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. We also sometimes use our tongues as a lure because it looks like a worm.

Conservation status: No status

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Sammy

Hi, my name is Sammy. I am a great plains skink. (Plestiodon obsoletus)

  • I like to dig and hide.

  • I am found primarily in the Midwest and the south.

  • I am very helpful to our environments by controlling insect and arachnid populations.

Life span: 3 - 8 years

Diet: Insects

Fun Fact: We are the largest species of skink in the United states.

Conservation status: Least concern

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Fred and Pebbles

Hi, our names are Fred and Pebbles! We are gray tree frogs (Hyla versicolor).

  • We sometimes can be green, not just gray depending on where we live.

  • We are very important to our environments because we eat a lot of bugs.

Life span: 7-9 years

Diet: Insectivores

Fun fact: When we hibernate we freeze our bodies and slow our breathing and heartbeat almost to a complete stop!

Conservation status: Least concerned, but could become more endangered as time goes on due to habitat loss.

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Gherkin

Hi, my name is Gherkin! I am an American Toad. (Anaxyrus americanus) 

  • I am often confused with the woodhouse’s toad. You can tell us apart because I have spots on my belly. 

  • I produce a milky white “toxin” from my warty skin so that I taste bad to predators, but it can’t hurt you!

  • Our skin can change colors due to temperature, humidity, or stress. It ranges from yellow to brown to black. 

Life span: 0 - 10 years in the wild. 0 - 36 years in captivity. 
Diet: Adults eat insects, snails, slugs, and earthworms. 
Fun fact: In the wild I can eat up to 1,000 insects per day!
Conservation status: Least concerned. 

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Axel

Hi, my name is Axel! I am an Axolotl. (Ambystoma mexicanum) 

  • My species is only naturally found in one place in the world, Xochimilco near Mexico City, Mexico. I am an amphibian.

  • I can grow up to 9 - 12 inches long!

  • I am a carnivore and will eat whatever I can catch. 

  • I am a very important research animal to scientists. 

Life span: 10 - 15 years
Diet: Carnivore
Fun fact: I am paedomorphic (pe·do·mor·phic), this means I retain characteristics from when I was a larva!
My name means water dog in native Aztec language. 
Conservation status: Critically endangered

Fish

We have a variety of fish here at PAROC.

These native fish species can be found in local freshwater habitats!

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