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Meet Our Animals
Did you know that AAWL & SPCA is home to a variety of exotic animals ranging from frogs to ferrets and everything in between? These animals, once unwanted or mistreated, now have a second chance at life. Even more importantly, they serve as ideal ambassadors for all other animals.
As part of our Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals team, our animal ambassadors help teach responsible pet care to thousands of children each year. Through hands-on interaction, they help kids and adults develop bonds with animals that last a lifetime!
Al - African Bullfrog
In July of 2008, AAWL added Al, the African Bullfrog, as one of our animal teachers. Rescued from neglect, Al was placed with our organization as an ambassador for his species. Known for his size and large appetite, Al often enjoys a large mouse for lunch. In the wild he would eat anything that would fit into his mouth. Now that's a frog I would not want to mess with!
Azriel - Umbrella Cockatoo
Meet Azriel, the umbrella cockatoo. She is nine years old and has a very friendly and outgoing personality; she loves everyone! You may notice from her picture, she is wearing a designer sweater. She wears the sweater not because she is fashion savvy, but because she has a condition called over-preening (also known as plucking).The sweater not only looks cute, but it helps her resist the temptation to pluck out her chest feathers.
Butch - Malaysian Box Turtle
Cassidy - Yellow Mud Turtle
Butch & Cassidy were purchased by a family as pets for their children. But soon, Butch and Cassidy grew too large and became very messy. Realizing that the turtles were too much for the family to care for, both Butch and Cassidy were surrendered by their former caregiver to AAWL & SPCA's education department.
Button, Pogo, Duncan & Tonka - Desert Tortoises
A favorite of all who visit, Button, Pogo, and Tonka are desert tortoises. Captive-born, all three tortoises were gifted to the AAWL & SPCA education program to teach children about the struggles of this species. Although it is very tempting to take these animals from the wild and keep them in our homes, they are protected by law and it is illegal to remove them from their wild habitat. This temptation, along with habitat loss, has driven many subspecies of desert tortoise to the endangered species list.
Gizmo & Stripe – Sugar Gliders
Meet Gizmo & Stripe! These unique and active marsupials (a type of mammal that is born and raised in a pouch) are native to Australia. They are known as sugar gliders for two reasons - their love of sweet fruits and their ability to glide through the air. All sugar gliders have a flap of skin on each side of their body. When they spread their arms, these flaps allow them to soar through the air for up to 160 feet!
Romaine - Rabbit
Like most rabbits, our ambassadors are adorable, fluffy, and have great temperaments. These qualities make rabbits highly desirable and one of the most purchased pet store animals of all time. Unfortunately, they are also one of the most abandoned and neglected pets simply because people underestimate the time and care required by their pet rabbit.
Penelope - Netherland Dwarf rabbit
Penelope is a Netherland Dwarf rabbit. The AZ Humane Society rescued her when investigating a complaint regarding a dog in need and noticed a rabbit in a small cage with hair loss in filthy conditions. After convincing the woman to give up both her rabbit and dog Penelope was taken to AHS for a medical evaluation. She was diagnosed with treatable skin mites and after a few weeks on medication was ready for adoption. We contacted the humane society regarding a partner for Romaine, a resident rabbit who kept trying to jump in with an already established pair of rabbits and was getting continually bullied by the pair. Romaine met Penelope and they were immediately inseparable! Penelope and Romaine now live happily together at AAWL.
Sticky Foot – White's Tree Frog
Sticky Foot, our White’s Tree Frog, was surrendered by their owners. Purchased from a pet store as a gift for a child, the frog was well cared for. However, as the child grew older he lost interest in his pets. With a lifespan of nearly 20 years, Sticky Foot had many years of extensive care ahead and the owners were concerned about their son’s lack of interest in his frog.
Leo - Leopard Gecko
When you think of abandoned animals most people think of dogs and cats. But believe it or not, people abandon animals of all species on a daily basis, even tiny lizards. Leo the leopard gecko is one such animal. He was left anonymously on the desk of an AAWL & SPCA staff member. We took Leo in and started caring for him. Happily Leo is now a thriving, easy-going lizard who is great at teaching children about the care needed by pet reptiles.
Oliver - Umbrella Cockatoo
At 21 years of age, Oliver is our oldest education ambassador. Don't worry, Oliver is an umbrella cockatoo and is still very young in parrot years; they live to be nearly 70 years old. Oliver journeyed all the way from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah to meet Azriel, our AAWL & SPCA cockatoo, who was in need of a companion.
Romeo & Juliet - Ferrets
Brother and sister pair, Romeo and Juliet came to us at only 6 months of age. This rambunctious and fun-loving pair was given up by an owner who was unable to provide the specialized care they need. These siblings couldn't be more different; Juliet is an independent critter who often makes her caregivers giggle with her playful spirit. Romeo loves human companionship and is content lying in your lap. Domestic ferrets are one of the top 10 most popular pets in the United States.
Toto, Javier, Rajah, Ruby, Sonora, Hugo, Rey – Snakes
AAWL & SPCA is home to six different types of snakes - a ball python, a corn snake, a common boa, a rosy boa, a gopher snake, and a California king snake. All of these species are commonly taken as pets and are often surrendered or neglected after the initial excitement wears off. Common boas, like our animal teacher Javier, are often given up because owners acquire them when they are tiny, cute young snakes. With time boas can grow to be 10 feet in length with tremendous constricting strength. Too much snake for many people to manage and care for.
Maverick and Goose - Ferrets
Maverick was unfortunately left behind by his owner in an apartment complex. Luckily, he was found by the apartment manager who knew of AAWL and brought him in to see if we could use him as an exotic animal ambassador. At first, Maverick was very depressed, but after meeting all the kids, staff and his new best friends Romeo and Juliet, Maverick is now happily settled in! He loves to play and cuddle with people and ferrets alike!
Goose was found after he had been dumped at an apartment complex. He came in dehydrated and malnourished with bruising and swelling in his back legs; injuries that looked like he had been tossed out of a car. Luckily nothing was broken and a few days of cage rest and medication he began to show great improvement in his legs. However, the isolation was causing him to become withdrawn and stressed. Worried about his behavior we introduced him to our resident ferrets, after getting the clear from our veterinarian. He immediately perked up and began playing, running, cuddling and grooming the other ferrets! He took a special liking to our newest member of the ferret family, Maverick, so we decided to name him Goose. We are very glad to have a young playful ferret to add to the education family.
Zoe - African Pygmy Hedgehog
Zoe is an African Pygmy Hedgehog, which is illegal to own in Arizona without a Wildlife Permit (which AAWL is in ownership of). Zoe was born in captivity after her mother was confiscated by the Game and Fish Department from someone who owned her illegally. Hedgehogs are desert animals and are prohibited due to the likelihood of irresponsible owners releasing them into the desert and, without any native predators, would likely overpopulate and out-compete some of our native mammals for resources. Zoe is adapting to life at AAWL and enjoys exploring new places and eating mealworms!
Cumin and Curry
Cumin and Curry were surrendered by a veterinarian who became interested in the breeding of reptiles. After a few years the owner no longer wanted the hassle of taking care of so many reptiles and began re-homing many of the animals. Cumin and Curry were timid juveniles when they came to us but have quickly adapted and enjoy calling the Education Department home.
Adoni and Sydney - Lizards
Sydney was surrendered to us from a local pet store who noticed that he was unable to use his rear legs. At just a few weeks old Sydney had not been given the proper nutrition and care to develop. We agreed to give him a fighting chance and immediately saw what a difference proper care could do for the little lizard! Though some of the damage done was irreversible and Sydney will never have full use of his legs he is an active healthy lizard who enjoys sunbathing and crickets. He helps teach the public about the importance of proper bearded dragon care. Adoni was surrendered by his owner after only a week after he was brought home from the pet store. He needed medicine to get him healthy as he came with a host of parasites. Adoni, Aborigine for sunset, is a beautiful healthy lizard who enjoys meeting all the kids at AAWL!
Clover - Rabbit
Clover came to us when a family with a male and female rabbit tried to do the right thing and had their male rabbit neutered. What the vet failed to tell the family was that male rabbits can impregnate a female for up to a month after he has been neutered so they must stay isolated for at least a month! The family ended up with babies and contacted us to see if we were able to take one. Clover is a friendly and outgoing rabbit who loves his new job at AAWL helping educate people about the proper care of rabbits and reminds everyone to make sure your vet is experienced with rabbits!
Max - Rabbit
Max was found living with a colony of feral cats. Like so many of our rabbits Max had been abandoned by the family who bought him. Max is a little skittish around strangers but enjoys gentle pets from his keepers and has soft fur that reminds us of the velveteen rabbit!
Scraps - Rabbit
Scraps was found in a park, he too had been abandoned by the family that bought him. He is an older rabbit who has been through much in his life before he came to us and has several scars to prove this. Scraps is our most gentle rabbit and enjoys meeting all the kids and adults who come to the education department.
Arbee and Flash - Rats
Arbee and Flash are brothers who came to us from Any Rat Rescue, an AZ based rat rescue. Like most rats, they have sweet dispositions and are very gentle. Rats are often called the "dogs of the rodent world" because they bond strongly with their owners and are eager to please. Children of all ages love to see these friendly animal ambassadors!
Calvin and Hobbes, Snowball, Chin
Calvin, Hobbes, Chin and Snowball were surrendered by their owners that could no longer care for them. They help educate kids and parents about the extensive care needed for these cute furry animals.