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PAROC Animal Ambassadors 

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.



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. 



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.



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


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.

Black toad.jpg


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. 



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


We have a variety of fish here at PAROC.

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

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