Meet the beautiful creatures native to east tennessee
We care for a broad collection of wildlife representing 29 species and nearly 40 individuals, all native to east Tennessee. We call them our Animal Ambassadors. We use many of these Animal Ambassadors in our educational programs. They help thousands of school-age children and adults learn more about each species, their habitats, and how we humans can help them.
support our animal ambassadors
The animals in our care require feeding, enrichment and medical care year-round. Your financial contributions allow us to provide the highest level of care available in captivity and to continue to use these animals to reconnect people with nature.
WHY ARE THESE ANIMALS IN CAPTIVITY?
Whether they are endangered and threatened species, or a species in need of management, the animals live in our Native Animal Exhibit or our Snake Tale Alley because they have been affected by humans in such a way that they can’t survive on their own in the wild.
- They may have suffered an injury.
- They may have been kept illegally a pet.
- They are part of a species survival plan: Reflection Riding is one of 42 facilities in the world that house the 8th most endangered mammal in the world—the Red Wolf. Learn more about the Red Wolves right here in Chattanooga!
Some of our animals are off-exhibit and you can only see them in the classroom. When you visit, if you do not see the animal you hoped to see, ask at the Visitor Center to find a member of the wildlife staff and we will try to satisfy your curiosity.
what species do we have in our care at the nature center?
Our collection changes as animals pass away and not all animals are on display, but generally we have the following species in our collection plan.
Mammals (Class Mammalia)
- Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
- Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
- Red wolf (Canis rufus)
- Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana)
Birds (Class Aves)
- American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
- American kestrel (Falco sparverius)
- Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
- Barn owl (Tyto alba)
- Barred owl (Strix varia)
- Black vulture (Coragyps atratus)
- Broad-winged hawk (Buteo platypterus)
- Eastern screech owl (Megascops asio)
- Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus)
- Red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus)
- Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
- Sandhill crane (Grus canadensis/Antigone canadensis*)
Reptiles (Class Reptilia)
- Black kingsnake (Lampropeltis nigra)
- Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus)
- Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)
- Gray Ratsnake (Pantherophis spiloides)
- Green anole (Anolis carolinensis)
- Pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus)
- Red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)
- Yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta scripta)
Amphibians (Class Amphibia)
- American toad (Anaxyrus americanus)
- Green tree frog (Hyla cinerea)
- Tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)
*The International Crane Foundation still uses Grus Canadensis, while iNaturalist and IUCN use an updated taxonomy.