Our Animal Ambassadors are all animals that are non-releasable due to various conditions that would make it impossible for them to survive in the wild. They are housed at TWRC, where they each teach people about the ways that their species benefits our ecosystem. Your generous symbolic adoption of our ambassadors helps to cover the cost of their housing, food, daily care, medications and medical care. Please click on the [+] underneath each animal to read their story. You will receive an adoption package with your symbolic adoption.

*Please note: This is not a physical adoption. The animals will remain in TWRC’s care. 

IRIS (Eastern Screech Owl)

Like many of our animal ambassadors, Iris came to us as a baby. She was the size of two stacked cotton balls! Brought to us by a kind rescuer, she had been found on the ground surrounded by flies. She was born with one eye that never grew and does not function. Because of her birth defect, it is likely that either her siblings or her parents kicked her out of the nest.

Because she had only one functioning eye, Iris was not a candidate for release. Her ability to hunt prey would have been severely compromised, which would have made her chances of survival in the wild very low. Iris attends almost every outreach event, helping to educate people about these elusive raptors. On her days off, she can be found in her enclosure at TWRC resting under her favorite fern and occasionally talking to volunteers.

ELVIS (Chinese Water Dragon)

Elvis is our only education animal that cannot be found in the wild in Texas. She was donated to us by a caring but misinformed owner who did not know what was wrong with her. Elvis suffers from Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), a condition that results from improper care and causes bone weakness and deformation. The condition has similar effects to Rickets in humans. Unfortunately, MBD is a common ailment for reptiles kept as pets. Elvis helps teach visitors about the importance of researching proper animal care and the extra difficulties that arise with keeping exotics as pets.

LUCY (Eastern Gray Squirrels)

Lucy’s Story:

Lucy came to us a little bit older than Bob, but still a baby. When she arrived, she had been abandoned and presumed to have fallen from her tree. She had an injury to her hip, and was immediately seen by a veterinarian. After rehabilitation, it was determined that Lucy had Hip Dysplasia. She can run, jump and play like a normal squirrel, but in the wild she would not be able to have babies safely. Since squirrels have two mating seasons every year and can live for up to 20 years, releasing Lucy would put her in extreme danger. Instead, this smart and playful squirrel spends her time building nests and trying to convince visitors to give her extra treats.

GIGANTOR, SPOT, and LADY (Three-Toed Box Turtles)

All three of our box turtles came to us with Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), a condition that results from improper habitat or nutrition. While Three-Toed Box Turtles are native to Houston, all of our turtles were kept in captivity. Without the proper amount of calcium, their shells stopped growing and became deformed. This condition is potentially deadly to turtles because their shells are part of their skeletons and cannot be shed or replaced. A turtle with MBD requires special care or it will outgrow its shell. Each of our turtles require very specific diets now and do not know how to forage for their own food. Having been kept as pets, our turtles cannot survive in the wild and are non-releasable. However, they regularly play outside and often go to events to help teach about the importance of proper animal care and what can happen when wildlife is removed from the wild.

BOSS HOGG (Western Hognose Snake), MAIZEY (Corn Snake) and JJ Watts (Bullsnake)

Boss Hogg is a Western Hognose Snake, Maizey is a Corn Snake and JJ Watts is a Bullsnake. All of these species are native to Texas and were given to TWRC by owners who could no longer care for them. Both Western Hognose Snakes and Bullsnakes are often misidentified as Rattlesnakes and killed.  Our snakes help us teach people how to properly identify snakes in the wild. Interaction with them also helps people overcome their fear of snakes and banish some of the fallacies around them.