Psammobates pardalistortoisel port1


  • Testudinidae


  • Wild: 100 years
  • Captivity: 75 years


  • Length: 11- 37 inches long
  • Weight: 30 - 120 lbs


  • Africa and Ethiopia


  • Range from dry arid plains to rassland ecosystems, most live in shrub type habitats.


  • Wild: Low lying vegetation, berries, and fruits when available.
  • Zoo: Fresh vegetables and fruit daily. During the summer, they have access to an outdoor exhibit and will graze on the fresh grass. 


  • Monogamous
  • They bury their eggs, which have a gestation period of 9 - 12 months.
  • Females can lay 5 - 7 clutches a year.
  • Mothers leave after hatching, causing the hatchlings to be independent immediately.
  • Temperature-dependent births, meaning that the eggs are born male or female depending on the temperature.

General Informationtortoisel 2

  • Some believe that you can determine the age of a tortoise by counting the rings on its shell. However, this is not possible. The rings or scutes are formed during growth periods and leopard tortoises (like all tortoises) may grow at different times and rates during the year.
  • The leopard tortoise is one of the largest mainland tortoises and has an elevated carapace (the top part of the shell) that is tawny, yellow or buff, with brown centers to each scute with black radiations and spots. Because of this pattern, they've been given the name "leopard."
  • The male has a slightly concave plastron near the tail and a longer tail.
  • African Leopard Tortoises, like all tortoises and turtles, cannot come completely out of their shell. Their spine is fused to the underside of the carapace. 

Differences Between a Turtle and a Tortoise

  • Turtles have flat feet with long claws that help them swim, where as tortoises have elephant-like feet to help them walk on land.
  • Some tortoises, like the African leopard tortoise, are so heavy and dense that they cannot swim at all, and will drown in water levels above their head.
  • Turtles generally are more hydrodynamic, meaning they have a flatter shell that is less water resistant. This allows them to swim quickly.


  • IUCN: Lower Risk
  • CITES: Appendix II
    • The biggest threat to this species is human beings, which harvest them for food and for illegal export for the pet industry.

tortoisel 3


  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012.
  2. IUCN Red List. Accessed December 2012.
  3. Smithsonian National Zoological Park: Leopard Tortoise Fact Sheet.

**All animal information is meant to be an educational resource. It may not include all the latest scientific information. Though we edit our information we cannot guarantee the accuracy of all facts presented.

Grammostola roseatarantulacrh legs


  • Theraphosidae


  • Females: 15 years
  • Males: 3 years


  • Length: 4 - 5.5 inches
  • Weight: 2 - 3 oz


  • Chile and the surrounding countries to the north


  • Mostly deserts and scrubland, ranging from coastal lowlands to more mountainous areas (inhabiting low shrubs).
  • Hubidity needs to be high (around 80% and up) and wet sphagnum moss, damp verniculite, or damp orchid bark will accomplish this.
  • 70 - 85°F


  • Carnivore
  • Wild: Small lizards, young snakes, amphibians, and small mammals such as rodents. Smaller forest dwelling or desert species prey on grasshoppers, beetles, or other spiders.
  • Zoo: 3 - 5 crickets per week. This animal will not overeat, and may be intimidated if offered too many insects at one time. 


  • Mating takes place at various times according to the species, usually in the fall from September to October. After mating, the female may eat the male.
  • The Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula deposits 500 - 1000 eggs once per year wrapped in silk and guard the sack for 6 - 7 weeks.

General Informationtarantulacrh fb

  • There are two basic types of spiders, web spinners and wandering spiders.  Tarantulas are wandering spiders, spending most of their time on the ground, in burrows, under rocks, inside tree hollows, and in other protected places.
  • Most wandering spiders have hairy legs and bodies.  The hair is very sensitive and helps them find their way along the ground locating prey.
  • They have to look for their food, so they require good eyesight.
  • Wandering spiders live on the ground, in burrows, under rocks, inside tree hollows, and in other protected places.
  • They have two claws on each foot and between them is a pad of hair. The claws give them a firm grip for walking on slippery surfaces.
  • Wandering spiders hunt in different ways.  Some stalk insects, some climb trees, and others dig burrows to hide from their prey.  There are also spiders that “fish” for prey, by diving underwater to kill fish, and one that catches prey by spitting on them.
  • Tarantula predators include animals such as coatimundis, raccoons, and skunks; one of their most deadly predators is the spider-hunting wasp which enters the spiders burrow, paralyzes it with its stinger, and drags it back to its nest.

Tarantulas & Humans

  • Spiders are the most important predators of insects; they help keep gardens healthy by protecting plants and controlling insect populations.
  • These are the most docile and easiest to handle group of spiders.
  • All tarantulas are venomous spiders, but do not carry enough venom to kill a person. However, some people may be allergic to their venom, and can be hospitilized. 


Fun Facts


  • Tarantulas have a resting heart rate of 30-40 beats per minute, however after 30 seconds of activity this may go up to 200 beats per minute.
  • No human is ever known to have died of a tarantula bite.
  • Tarantulas have two pairs of booklungs, while most spiders have only one pair.
  • The largest recorded spider in the world was a tarantula. It was a member of the species Pseudotherathosa apophysis, which had a leg span of almost 13 inches.



  • IUCN: Not Listed
  • CITES: Not Listed

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  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012.
  2. IUCN Red List. Accessed December 2012.
  3. Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula: Grammostola gala – by Animal World. 
  4. Zoobooks: Spiders. Timothy Levi Biel

**All animal information is meant to be an educational resource. It may not include all the latest scientific information. Though we edit our information we cannot guarantee the accuracy of all facts presented.

History of the Celebration Square Carousel 

The Celebration Square CarouselIn the spring of 1996, Saginaw Valley Zoological Society (SVZS) President Julie Stevens and board members began researching ways to strengthen and improve Zoo programs. This resulted in the suggestion that a carousel at the Zoo would be a delightful addition to the community’s recreational facilities.

Inspired by the concept, City Councilman Earle DeGuise mentioned the idea to Jerry Willis, a retired contractor, who developed a plan to replicate some of the classic carousel figures of the early 1900s. Mr. Willis consulted with the Tri-City Wood Carvers, whose enthusiasm for the carousel was unanimous. The formal presentation was made in the fall of 1996.

With the help of Delta College, volunteers had a space to begin work on all of the components for the Celebration Square Carousel. Soon, the space was filled with volunteers who helped with a range of jobs including carving, sanding, and even the all important job of sweeping up the wood chips.

Each animal is created with a hollow body to allow for contraction and expansion of wood under a variety of environmental conditions. The necks and heads are also hollow.

The Celebration Square Carousel was finished and ready for riders on July 18, 1998. It took 18 months, over 40,000 volunteer hours, and cost $750,000.

Animals of the Celebration Square CarouselCarousel Horses

Boy Bunny                                               Christmas Horse - Miss Holly 
Girl Bunny  Cabbage Horse
Signature Horse (Lead)  Scottish Highland Pony
Native American Horse  Trappers' Horse
Children's Pony Zebra
Bavarian Armored Horse Fish Scale, Semi-Armored Horse 
Zebra  Viking-Armored Horse 
Midnight Blue Dapple  Sea Monster 
Cowboy Horse  Mexican Pony 
Flag Pony  Indian Pony 
Calvary Pony   


Along with the animals of the Celebration Square Carousel, there are also two chariot seats, ideal for those who wish to sit on a bench instead of the back of an animal. The first of the two chariots is designed after the Goodridge Brothers Photo Shop. The brothers photographed much of the region’s lumbering history. The second chariot, Dragons, takes you into a fantasy world of the sea including fire breathing dragons.

Goodrich Brothers Chariot Dragon Chariot

The Carousel also has carved rounding boards with local historical scenes and framed artwork.  

The historical scenes include:

                                   Postal Delivery at Messner Hotel

   Indian Camp on River                                    Lumber Camp in Winter 
   Potter Street Train Station  Lumber Camp in Summer 
   Postal Delivery at Messner Hotel  City Water Works 
   Early Saginaw Church Scene  Caledonia Coal Mine 
   Great Fire of 1893  Great Flood of 1904 
   Ships Loading Lumber on River  Water Pump on the Corner 


 The Upper Scenery Panels on the Celebration Square Carousel also have many additional historical scenes including: 

The Flying Merkel

   Crystal Ballroom: Bancroft Hotel                      Fire and Police 
   Migrant Workers at Harvest  The Fordney House 
   Bliss Park  WW II, B-24 Bomber 
   Fort Saginaw  Farm Scene 
   Chief Shop-en-a-gons  Flying Merkel Motor Cycle
   Tri City Wood Carvers  Making Ice on the River 




  The Lower Scenery Panels include:   

                                Fire at City Hall 1935

   Boating on the Bay, 1922                           Stardust, Boating on the Bay 
   Ice Fishing on Saginaw River  Fire at City Hall - 1935 
   Winter Farm Scene  Interior of School Room 
   Castle Post Office  Gathering Maple Syrup 



The mission of the Children's Zoo is to be a resource to the Great Lakes Bay Region through recreation, education and conservation.

Zoo Camps 

The Zoo offers one-, two- or three-day zoo camps to fit every schedule and interest. Campers visit different animals in the zoo, talk with keepers and participate in activities geared toward camp themes. 

Event Days 

Theme days are scheduled throughout the zoo season. Theme days include: Reptile Slither, D.E.A.R at the Zoo, Fun on the Farm, and many more. Theme Days give visitors an opportunity to learn more about specific animals and resources in the local area. Visit the event calendar for updates on theme days scheduled.

Exhibit Signs

When visiting the Zoo be sure to read about all the Zoo animals.  Each exhibit has a sign posted giving information about each of our animals. Exhibit signs include information about an animals diet, natural history, lifespan, habitat, conservation status and some fun facts. 

School Field Trips

Bring your class to the Zoo! The Zoo offers a group rate for registered classes to come to the Zoo and spend the day with the animals. 

Zoo Crew

Interested in learning what it takes to work at the Zoo. The Zoo Crew Program allows teenagers ages 13 to 18 a chance to volunteer and learn about all the different jobs at the Children's Zoo. 

Daily Education Programs

Amphitheater shows, keeper talks and demonstrations and animal feedings are all offered daily to Zoo visitors. The visitor has the opportunity to talk with a Zoo keeper and learn more about animals in the Zoo collection. Some daily programs also offer the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the Zoo's animals. 


Penguin Silhouette Alligator SilhouetteButterfly Silhouette Donkey SilhouetteTortoise Silhouette Sheep Silhouette

animal encounters zoo

The Children’s Zoo features a variety of animals ranging from small insects to our large holstein cow, Cutie Pie. We are currently home to over 150 animals (and that’s not including the thousands of insects!) year round.

While visiting the zoo, you may run in to a few of our feathered friends walking the beautiful gardens and walkways. Peacocks and peahens roam our zoo grounds and make sure to watch for those waddling ducks around the large pond.

Be sure to take part in ourhands-on experiences with our hoof stock yards which include african pygmy goats, alpine goats, miniature horses and cows.

Our black-footed penguins will wow you with their amazing speed and grace as they glide effortlessly through the water. The capuchin monkeys will make you laugh (or duck) as they search for the tasty treats the keepers have hidden in their exhibit. Or perhaps you would prefer to take a walk-a-bout through our eastern grey kangaroo exhibit. One may even hop across your path! Enjoy the colors and fragrances of the breathtaking gardens as you stroll along our paths. 



Two main characteristics of mammals are that they are endothermic (warm-blooded) and have vertebrae (having a backbone). However, these characteristics are not only unique to mammals. Other animals which are not mammals can also have these characteristics. One trait that makes mammals unique is the presence of mammary glands, with which mothers produce milk to feed their young. The word "mammal" is derived from this characteristic. Mammals give birth to live young, with the exception of egg-laying monotremes (platypus and echidna). All mammals develop fur at some point during development, but not all keep it throughout their lifespan (including humans!). Mammals have one main jaw bone which attaches directly to the skull, unlike other animals which may have many bones comprising the jaw that may not attach to the skull.  Mammals are also unique in that they have only one primary artery leading to the heart, while other animal groups can have multiple. 

Otter RWolf silhouetteClydesdale silhouettetamarin silhouette

African Pygmy Goats Miniature Horse
Alpaca North American River Otter
Alpine Goat Nubian Goats
Black-footed Cats Pot-bellied Pig*
Black-tailed Prairie Dog Rabbit
Cotton-Top Tamarin Scottish Highland Cattle
Domestic Donkey Shire Horse
Eastern Grey Kangaroo White-tailed Deer
Holstein Cattle White-throated Capuchin
Mexican Wolves  
Miniature Donkey  



Birds are also endothermic, vertebrate animals. All birds are egg-layers, and although not all birds are born with feathers, all eventually develop feathers. Not all birds can fly, but those that can have specialized feathers, bone structures, and muscle mass which give them this ability. Birds do not have jaws with teeth. Instead, they have lightweight beaks or bills, and the shape of the beak or bill varies based on the type of food the bird consumes.



Peacock silhouettePenguin silhouetteCockatoo silhouetteEagle silhouette

American Crow Military Macaw
Bantam Chicken Moluccan Cockatoo*
Bald Eagle Orpington Chicken
Barred Owl Patagonian Conure*
Black-footed Penguin Peafowl
Blue and Gold Macaw Red-tailed Hawk
Cockatiels Ring-necked Dove
Dominique Chickens Turkey Vulture
Domestic Ducks Yellow-crested Cockatoo*
Eclectus Parrot* Umbrella Cockatoo*


Reptiles are ectothermic (cold-blooded), vertebrate animals. They regulate their body temperature by either seeking or avoiding the sun’s heat. There are five main groups of reptiles which include: turtles and tortoises, lizards, snakes, crocodiles and alligators, and tuatara. Reptiles have scaly skin which helps to keep their body’s moisture in. They are mostly egg layers, but there are a few species that have live birth. Mothers who lay eggs generally leave the nest once the eggs are laid, leaving the hatchlings to fend for themselves.

Lizard silhouetteTortoise silhouetteAlligator silhouette

American Alligator Leopard Tortoise*
Boa Constrictor* Red-eared Slider*
Central American Ornate Wood Turtle* Royal Python*
White-throated Mud Turtle*


Amphibians are also ectothermic, vertebrate animals. They too rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature. Amphibians can be broken down into three main groups: salamanders and newts, frogs and toads, and caecilians. Most have soft, moist skin and tend to live in moist places or near water. Amphibians absorb nutrients and moisture through their skins. Because of this, amphibians are among the first to suffer in areas with air and water pollution. They can live on land and in the water. Amphibians experience a developmental process called metamorphosis meaning they start as small larvae that then begins to morph and change in body shape, changing their diet and lifestyle.

Frog silhouetteCattailFrog silhouette


Invertebrates are animals that do not have a backbone. There is a wide range of species that are classified as invertebrates, but besides the lack of backbone, not much else is shared. Invertebrates make up around 97% of the world! Invertebrates can be found in almost any habitat including forest, desert, and the ocean. Invertebrate groups include spiders and scorpions (arachnids), insects, worms, centipedes, snails, clams, mussels, jellyfish, squid, crabs, and sea stars, just to name a few.

Cockroach silhouetteTarantula silhouette

Chilean Rose Tarantula* Honey Bee
Madagascar Hissing Cockroach*

* Animals are not on exhibit. They are used for educational programs only.

 **All animal information is meant to be an educational resource. It may not include all the latest scientific information. Though we edit our information we cannot guarantee the accuracy of all facts presented.