Did you know that your support of The Schiele helps us provide a caring home for our Animal Ambassadors? Learn about our wonderful Animal Ambassadors and how their stories help us stay true to our mission.

Meet Baby, our Southern Flying Squirrel who was found on the ground near trees that had been cut down. Barely as big as your thumbnail, he was picked up and brought to a rehabilitator who cared for him with the hopes of being released. Baby did flourish in their care - perhaps too well - and returned to his caretaker instead of finding his own path in nature. Baby was donated to The Schiele and now serves as an Animal Ambassador! As one of two native species of flying squirrels in North Carolina, Baby’s participation in school and outreach programs serves as a great platform to talk about the differences in species. Baby’s counterpart, the Northern Flying Squirrel, is endangered. By sharing Baby’s story and discussing habitat loss and ways it can be prevented, children can better understand how to protect animals impacted by habitat loss, especially when they can see one up close and in person!

Meet Ecco, our Crested Gecko! Ecco became an #AnimalAmbassador after being donated to the museum by a former animal husbandry intern. Did you know that crested geckos don’t blink? They don’t have eyelids and simply lick their eyes to keep them clean!

In our Creepy Nature exhibit you’l­l find Marge, an albino Burmese python. Burmese pythons are an invasive species in Florida and have become a problem for the wildlife there.

Meet Hedwig, our #AnimalAmbassador owl! Hedwig is an Eastern Screech Owl, and was found injured with a fractured wing, presumably having been hit by a car. He was brought to the Carolina Raptor Center, however his wing had set at the fracture site and he lost his ability to fly. This made him unable to be released into the wild. Thus, the Carolina Raptor Center sought an educational facility to adopt him, and The Schiele ended up being just that place!

Avery, a Virginia Opossum, was perhaps the most well-known of our #AnimalAmbassadors, even staring in his own “meet & greet” day last year. Avery’s mother was hit by a car, and he and his siblings stayed with her, nursing from contaminated milk until they were eventually rescued by a rehabilitation organization in South Carolina.

Say hello to Obi, our #AnimalAmbassador snake! Obi is an Eastern Kingsnake and is native to North Carolina. While many people are afraid of snakes, Obi helps educate visitors on how they are a crucial species in our ecosystem. A fun fact about Eastern Kingsnakes is that they eat snakes that are venomous.

The Animal Ambassadors play an important role in educational programs at The Schiele. During our Jr. Zookeeper Summer Camp last year, participants learned how to properly care for live animals in the museum’s collection as well as the important role that animals play within their ecosystems. Their final project was to educate visitors using what they learned throughout camp! Cortez, our Desert Tortoise, was found with a damaged shell and brought to The Schiele. Cortez joined the Animal Ambassadors and helps to educate museum visitors. Did you know that the Desert Tortoise can live for 50-80 years?