Our animal ambassadors come from a variety of backgrounds and each one has their own unique story. Some of our ambassadors were surrendered or rehomed to us. Some were adopted from other exotic rescues. Some were purchased from responsible breeders for educational purposes. A few of these animals we've had so long that they were actually our own childhood pets! You can find out more information about each ambassador by clicking on their photograph.
Dwight is an African pygmy hedgehog that we adopted from Wild Tails, another local animal rescue. Like many hedgehogs, he's a little bit shy - but we're hoping that time and bribery will help him come around!
Believe it or not, Mose is actually not a hedgehog! He is a lesser hedgehog tenrec, which despite the name, are not even related to hedgehogs. Native to Madagascar, lesser tenrecs are nocturnal and primarily insectivorous. Mose has a very relaxed temperament and he will actually fall asleep right in your hand!
Nimbus is a leucistic sugar glider that was adopted from an exotic animal sanctuary. Leucism is a color variation produced by recessive genes that causes a partial loss of pigment. Nimbus is a friendly fellow who loves his job as an educational ambassador! His favorite things in the world are his wheel and plain yogurt chips.
Cirrus is a sugar glider that was rehomed to us from a private individual who could no longer care for her. Unfortunately, sugar gliders have demanding care requirements and are often rehomed. Cirrus was very shy at first, but has since opened up and shown us her curious, gentle personality.
Florian & Jonquil are a pair of (currently unsexed) underwoodisaurus milii - also known as Australian barking geckos! These little lizards are a social species and are known to emit high-pitched barks when threatened.
Arthur is a captive-bred Indonesian blue-tongued skink, which are one of the largest skink species in the world. Skinks are lizards with long, flat bodies and short, stubby legs, so sometimes they’re confused with snakes. Their blue tongue helps to scare away predators in the wild, where they eat primarily insects, fruit, and plants. Arthur’s favorite foods include bananas, scrambled eggs, and turkey, so he’s a true omnivore!
Noumea is a rescued crested gecko that came to us quite underweight. She's been steadily gaining weight and is looking much healthier! Her beautiful brindle coloration and sweet personality convinced us that Noumea would make a perfect educational ambassador!
Sterling is a handsome male Kenyan zebra skink. These social lizards often live in family groups and aren't commonly seen in the pet trade. The males are a beautiful copper color while the females are black and white striped - hence the name "zebra skink!"
Zen is a young leachianus gecko that was donated to BeWild by a generous, private breeder. Leachianus geckos are notable for being the largest gecko species in the world. They are native to New Caledonia, just like crested geckos.
Silvia is a European legless lizard, which are commonly mistaken for snakes. However, their ear holes, lateral line, and moveable eyelids soundly land these guys in the “lizard” category. Legless lizards are often called “glass lizards” because of their ability to drop their tails, and according to old myths the tails shatter like glass. They can live to be up to 50 years old!
Saba is a captive-bred leopard gecko, which are named for the leopard-like spots that help them camouflage in the wild. These geckos are native to Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, where they live in dry, rocky environments. Leopard geckos have developed the ability to store extra fat in their tails, which they gain by hunting small insects. Saba has a great appetite and a friendly temperament and loves eating cockroaches and mealworms!
Thistle is a young alligator snapping turtle! He was surrendered to us after being kept in a 10 gallon tank with 3 leopard geckos and a toad. He's been doing well with us and we're looking forward to adding him to our educational programs one day!
Rue is a three-toed box turtle that was donated by an outreach laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Box turtles are terrestrial turtles with the unique ability of closing their shell off to protect themselves from predators. Eastern box turtles are common in North Carolina but are often kidnapped to be kept as pets, which is illegal in many states and can end poorly for the turtle.
Cora is a rescued Russian tortoise that came from a home unable to care for her any longer. About the size of a dinner plate, this tortoise is full-grown and now lives a happy life munching on greens and basking in the sun! Russian tortoises are common exotic pets and live terrestrial lives in contrast to their turtle cousins. They have vibrant personalities but require large enclosures, making them difficult pets for most people.
Ruby is a young common boa constrictor and has not yet reached her full size! Ruby was the runt of her litter, born much smaller than her 39 brothers and sisters, and ate her very first meal at BeWild. Baby boa constrictors can be as small as twelve inches when they’re born, but can reach over eight feet at five or six years! Ruby is named for the red blotches on her tail, which is why they’re sometimes called “red tail boas.”
Ginger is a common boa constrictor that was adopted from a local reptile rescue. At over seven feet long, Ginger is our biggest snake and about average for a boa constrictor, though some subspecies can get to be over ten feet! While boas can make good pets for the right person, they are not recommended as first pet snakes due to their size and many are surrendered to rescues.
Malakai is a captive-bred Dumeril’s boa, a medium-sized boa species native to Madagascar. These boas are ground snakes that use their beautiful patterns to camouflage on the rainforest floor, where they wait as ambush predators for small mammals. Malakai is a gorgeous, incredibly sweet snake that has been with us for four years and can live to be over twenty years old.
Estelle is a captive bred corn snake that has been with Nicole for over 8 years! She is a special color variation called "butter," which has the albino gene, so she lacks black pigment. Estelle has an amazingly gentle personality and is a great ambassador for her species.
Ari is a captive bred eastern ratsnake and the star of every show! Ari is outgoing and exceptionally tolerant around people. He does wonderfully at events and helps us to educate about our native snake species. Eastern ratsnakes are native to North Carolina and are commonly found in gardens and suburban areas.
Ace is a special coloration of eastern ratsnake called “white-sided,” which means that he displays a black stripe instead of the solid black coloration of a wild rat snake. Previously known as “black rat snakes,” these snakes are common in North Carolina and play an important role in controlling pest rodent populations. Ace is captive-bred and is still considered a juvenile.
Huckleberry is an eastern garter snake that was donated by a private breeder to be used as an educational ambassador. Eastern garter snakes are a commonly seen native species in North Carolina, though they are rarely kept as pets. Huckleberry is an active and curious juvenile and should grow to be between 18 and 26 inches in length.
Periwinkle is a female juvenile Eastern garter snake and she bred in captivity. She has a voracious appetite and has a curious, active personality.
Kirra is a jungle carpet python that was given to us by a member of the public who had recently acquired her but did not have the room to keep her. Rather than sell Kirra, he decided to surrender her to BeWild so that she could be used as an educational ambassador. Kirra is an absolutely gorgeous example of her species and is around 5 feet long.
Tambi is a Kenyan sand boa that was surrendered to animal control before being rescued by the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue. They are a short, heavy-bodied species of snake that stays between 2 and 3 feet when full grown! Wild Kenyan sand boas spend most of their lives buried in desert sand, where they hunt as ambush predators.
Raven is a young captive-bred black kingsnake, which are very similar in habits and appearance to our native Eastern kingsnakes. Kingsnakes are unique in that they are immune to pitviper venom and routinely kill and eat venomous snakes. While we don’t feed Raven other snakes, she does have an excellent appetite and a big personality!
Alanna is a young captive-bred red-bellied water snake, which are named for the beautiful orange-red faces and underbellies of these animals. Water snakes are native to North Carolina and commonly found in lakes and rivers. These harmless water snakes are often confused with venomous cottonmouths, so Alanna is an important education animal to teach about our venomous species and native snake safety.
Io is a male coqui, a species native to Puerto Rico and known for the male's distinctive call. Unfortunately, they are also invasive to Hawaii where they wreak havoc on the ecosystem. Io was found in a bouquet of flowers shipped from Hawaii and given to a wildlife rehabber. As a non-native species, he could not be released and ended up at BeWild!
Zikri is an Asian forest scorpion, a large scorpion native to Southeast Asia. Scorpions are actually close relatives of spiders, and while Zikri may look scary, his sting is no more dangerous than that of a bee or a wasp. While some scorpions have medically significant venom, many species are quite innocuous and harmless to humans
Orion is a handsome young Emperor scorpion.
We adopted this gorgeous Brazilian blue dwarf tarantula from the Fresh Start Reptile Rescue.
Mocha is a rescued Honduran curly-hair tarantula. She was adopted from a local exotic animal rescue after being pulled from another rescue that was unable to care for her. When Mocha first came in, she was very stressed and was missing hairs, but she quickly came around after being given proper care and is now an excellent ambassador! Mocha gets her name from her tropical country of origin, where coffee and cacao are commonly grown.
Taawa is a young Chaco golden knee tarantula.
These hermit crabs were adopted from a local exotic pet rescue. While hermit crabs are often kept as pets by children, they actually don't make a great beginner pet. They have complex care requirements and can live up to 30 years!
We adopted this juvenile Texas tan tarantula from the Fresh Start Reptile Rescue.
We have a few different species of cockroaches - including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, black tiger hissing cockroaches, ivory-head cockroaches, giant cave cockroaches, glowspot cockroaches, and chrome cockroaches.
Oakley is a vinegaroon, which are a species of arachnid. Vinegaroons get their name from their ability to shoot a vinegar-like liquid from their tail!