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Bringing the Zoo to You – 2021

Check out our Facebook Live features from 2021, including four of our top features!

Vultures play an important role in the ecosystem. They are considered the “clean-up crew” of the world. Their appetite for decaying animals also helps prevent diseases from spreading.

This November, a fan favorite animal encounter is returning! Don’t miss out on meeting Curly the sloth up close where you’ll get to feed him and take a “slothie” while learning fun facts from his keepers. 
The next time you visit Natural Encounters, you can see our other sloth, Cheetah, on exhibit in our rainforest canopy. Watch a replay of this week’s livestream to learn more. #InternationalSlothDay 

🐾 African painted dogs are extremely social animals who live in packs and follow a strong hierarchy. Moto is currently the top dog, but the order of the pack changes throughout the year. Celebrate #WorldAfricanPaintedDogDay with our pack at the Zoo tomorrow!

Did you get to see Tarak show off his clouded leopard fitness skills in this week’s Facebook Live? He moved throughout his habitat on static and dynamic perches to keep his muscles and joints healthy while exercising his cardiovascular system. Tarak also voluntarily participates in husbandry behaviors to help with his own medical care using an “ask and reward system” with his keepers.

December 2021

Winnie and Teddy Training - December 15

💚 And that’s a wrap, folks! Thank you for joining us during our last Facebook Live of 2021 and for tuning in all year-long. Winnie and Teddy showed off some of the training they’ve learned since they started around the time they were three months old. Come out to see our herd in person during the holidays!

Cougar Den - December 8

Cougars have an adaptation on their paws that allow them to be silent hunters which give them the nickname of “ghost cat.” Tomorrow’s the day for UH students to see their rings be guarded by Shasta! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to see your favorite mascot up close and carry on a tradition of guarding the rings. 

Sea Lion Art - December 1

Jonah stole the show on today’s Facebook Live! 🎨 Painting with our sea lions and other animals is a great form of enrichment that stimulates them mentally while providing one-on-one interaction time with their animal care team.

Think outside the box this holiday season and gift your loved ones a memorable gift like a one-of-a-kind animal art painting. Every purchase helps save animals in the wild. Shop now:

November 2021

Aurora and Cheyenne - November 17

At 49 years old, Cheyenne is one of the oldest female orangutans in North America. She’s always had a nurturing side and has been a foster mom to four orangutans, including Aurora, our 10-year-old orangutan.

Meerkats - November 10

Meerkats are pollinators! In the wild, meerkats run through the Kalahari Desert where seeds and pollen get stuck to their fur, and then spreads to surrounding areas!

October 2021

Giraffe Barn - October 27

🦒 A group of giraffes is called a tower and they can see up to a mile away on a clear day. Get up close with our giraffes during your next visit at our daily platform feedings at 11am and 2pm.

Red Pandas - October 13

Red pandas are crepuscular, meaning they are active at dusk and dawn. You can find our red pandas, Li Ming and Také most active between 9-10am and 2-3pm during your next Zoo visit. And be sure to see all of the Zoo Boo presented by LyondellBasell activities now until Oct. 31. Get tickets:

Beetles - October 6

Ever wanted to see the life cycle pattern of a beetle from egg to adult? Now’s your chance to see the four development stages – egg, larva, pupal, and adult – behind the scenes during this week’s Facebook Live. The whole lifespan of a beetle averages a little over 2.5 years, but much of that time happens during the larva stage – with some larva taking close to a year before reaching the pupa cell stage.

September 2021

Elephants and Pumpkins - September 29

We hope you had an ele-fun time with our herd on this week’s Facebook Live! 🐘 🎃 Don’t forget, Zoo Boo presented by LyondellBasell starts THIS Friday, Oct.1.

Just like the quality care we give the animals here at the Zoo, our partner Legacy Community Health – Montrose helps care for parents and kids.

Aquarium Care and Quarantine Center - September 22

Cownose rays hover over the ocean floor to find their prey by using multiple senses, including smell and electroreception. They then use the ridges on the underside of their mouth to form a suction cup to suck up their food and crush it with their plate-like teeth. You’ll be able to see cownose rays and other aquatic species in our newest exhibit, Galápagos Islands, which opens next year.

Athena and Danh Tu - September 8

Asian small-clawed otters are the smallest otter species, weighing less than ten pounds. They are one of the most dexterous otter species, using their hands to find food. Our keepers set up puzzle feeders for our otters to locate a variety of their diet, including shrimp, mussels, and smelt.

Gorilla Treehouse - September 1

Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla! You just said the scientific name of a western lowland gorilla! We hope you enjoyed seeing our gorilla troop on this week’s livestream. You can join the fun and book a gorilla encounter where you can feed them from our Gorilla Treehouse. Book yours today!

August 2021

Ernie and Gary - August 18

Well hello, Ernie! We hope you enjoyed this week’s Facebook Live featuring Ernie and our newest ambassador animal, Gary, a six-banded armadillo. Gary is training to become an ambassador for future Keeper Talks presented by Phillips 66 at our South America’s Pantanal exhibit.

Elephant Pool Party - August 11

Head to the Zoo before summer ends! Our bachelor herd cooled off today with some pool time and watermelon treats to kick off #WorldElephantDay! Come out to the Zoo this week to see our elephant herd and help support their wild counterparts – a portion of your ticket goes towards conservation programs that help save their wild counterparts.

July 2021

Galápagos Tortoise Yard - July 28

Galápagos tortoises are the largest tortoise in the world, weighing up to 500 pounds fully grown. Tortoises don’t have teeth but have a beak that helps them chew food. The beak is made from keratin – similar to fingernails – and regrows as it is worn down.

Coastal Pool - July 21

We hung out with a few Texas natives this week, including our brown pelicans and North American river otters! As July comes to an end, you can still support #PlasticFreeJuly by recycling and reducing your single-use plastics. A simple tip is replacing one thing you can replace throughout the year like plastic straws or switching to a shampoo bar.

Max & Ting - July 14

Although they may look a bit like monkeys, white-cheeked gibbons are officially classified as apes, meaning they have no tail whereas monkeys do. You can see Max and Ting swinging around their habitat the next time you visit the Wortham World of Primates.

Sea Lion Keeper Talk - July 7

California sea lions can swim at speeds up to 25 mph! During this week’s Facebook Live, you got to see a training with our most athletic sea lion, Kamia, and learn how you can help save her cousins in the wild this #PlasticFreeJuly. Added bonus: Keeper Talks presented by Phillips 66 are back!

June 2021

Teddy and Winnie - June 30

We hope you enjoyed today’s double dose of cuteness with our baby elephants on Facebook Live! Although Teddy is two months younger than his niece Winnie, they are pretty close in size.

We’re excited to partner up with Legacy Community Health to bring you updates on the care we give our young elephants during their first year. You’ll get to learn about the quality care we give the animals here at the Zoo, just like Legacy helps care for parents and kids.

Savanna Aviary - June 23

Our Savanna Aviary, located in South America’s Pantanal, is home to 11 bird species, with 40 birds in total. One of the more prominent birds you may see the next time you visit is our green oropendola, who can be spotted building large hanging nests from the top of the aviary that are woven into a pendulum shape.

Sea Turtle Exams - June 16

Happy #WorldSeaTurtleDay! Dr. Kendra and team took us behind the scenes today to share what a recheck exam looks like for endangered sea turtles before they can be released back into the wild. You can help save sea turtles by reducing your single-use plastics and picking up trash you find at the beach. 

Black Bears - June 2

We hope you enjoyed seeing Belle and Willow this morning, as they foraged through their habitat to find snacks in a variety of puzzle feeders. Belle also participated in a training session, using positive reinforcement, to highlight the importance of our bears taking part in their own medical care and voluntarily participating in blood draws, vaccines, nail trims, and more.

May 2021

Giant River Otters - May 26

Giant river otters are the world’s largest otter species! We have four here at the Zoo: Max, Dru, Marley, and Rijo. Make sure to visit one of our otter pairs in South America’s Pantanal during your next Zoo visit.

Savannah, the Harris's Hawk - May 12

Harris’s hawks are native to Texas and are social birds that hunt in packs by stacking on top of one another – no other birds of prey hunt in packs like they do.

Galápagos Tortoises - May 5

Galápagos tortoises are the largest species of tortoise on the planet! During your next Zoo visit, you can go behind the scenes and experience an up-close encounter with these slow-moving reptiles. Book your encounter:

April 2021

Cougars - April 28

Cougars are stealth hunters that can jump about 12 feet in the air or down. They also have one of the largest ranges of land mammals, living in Canada all the way down to South America. This Friday don’t miss Shasta guarding University of Houston’s class rings from 9am to 4pm.

Belle and Willow - April 21

Black bears are incredible climbers and can climb 100 feet in just 30 seconds. You can help save bears in the wild by reducing your paper usage and switching to recycled paper content to ensure bears still have trees to climb in the wild.

Pygmy Marmosets - April 14

Pygmy marmosets are the smallest monkey species in the world, yet they can jump 16 feet in the air between trees! You can help save this energetic species in the wild by signing up for our virtual fitness fundraiser, Miles for the Wild.

Peter Rabbit - April 7

We can’t believe Peter Rabbit turns ONE this Saturday! He’s been up to a lot this past year, including learning different training behaviors that help with his medical care and picking up on social cues from his mom and dad.

March 2021

Sally the Bald Eagle - March 31

Bald eagles are considered to be raptors, which means they are birds of prey! 🦅

Berani the Malayan Tiger - March 24

Missed the up-close action with Berani this morning? Watch the replay of Carnivore Keeper Megan who highlighted some of the husbandry training behaviors with our Malayan tiger. This training helped Berani become the first animal in the Carnivore department to participate in voluntary blood draws during his health exams.

Children's Zoo - March 17

Our John P. McGovern Children’s Zoo is reopening next Wed, March 24! You’ll get to see several animals you’ve been missing, including Fiesta the llama, mongoose, and North American river otters

Please note that our goat yard and Swap Shop will remain closed. You can also sign up for our Virtual Swap Shop! Register here

Green Anaconda - March 10

At nearly 13 feet long, Florence, our green anaconda is native to South America, where her cousins in the wild live in the Amazon rainforests all the way down to the wetlands in the Pantanal.

Houston Toads - March 3

Our Houston toad recovery program breeding season is officially underway! Since 1978, the Zoo has been working to help save this endangered species after it was almost on the brink of extinction due to rapid urbanization, drought, and most recently wildfires. The next time you visit the Zoo, you can spot Houston toads tucked away in the native amphibian habitat in the Reptile House.

February 2021

Flamingo Flock - February 24

Your favorite flock is back on exhibit! Flamingos get their rosy hue from a beta carotene pigment that is found in much of the food they eat, including shrimp and algae. The next time you visit the Zoo, stop by our Chilean flamingo habitat from the pathway at Texas Wetlands or at the end of South America’s Pantanal.

Elephant Herd is Growing by Two - February 10

In case you missed the BIG news, our elephant herd is growing by two! Mother and daughter Asian elephants, Tupelo and Tess, are due within a few weeks of each other this spring.

Red Panda Painting - February 3

💕 What’s pink and purple, and covered in hearts? A one-of-a-kind masterpiece created by our adorable red panda, Li Ming! Get your sweetheart a custom painting this Valentine’s Day. Limited supply:

January 2021

Jonah, the California Sea Lion - January 27

What’s sweeter than a sea lion nose print? Jonah and his keepers highlighted an animal painting training activity on this morning’s Facebook Live just in time for Valentine’s Day!  

Giraffe Feeding Platform - January 20

A giraffe’s tongue can be over 1.5 feet long once they’re fully grown! Get up close with our giraffe herd the next time you visit the Zoo during one of our daily giraffe feedings at 11am and 2pm.

Ernie at the McGovern Plaza - January 13

Our North American porcupine, Ernie, was excited for this morning’s mini tour of our renovated entrance and new McGovern Plaza! This renovation is helping us make way for construction for the Galapagos Islands, which opens in 2022.

Nelson and the Elephant Herd - January 6

Our nearly eight-month-old Asian elephant, Nelson, reached a BIG milestone this week and now weighs 1,000 pounds! He’s been learning a lot of new training behaviors and will grow to be 10,000-15,000 pounds once he’s fully grown.