Bringing the zoo to you: all about the ambassador animals

If you visit Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, you might get to see Buddy. He’s one of the many ambassador animals who teach guests about conservation efforts and wildlife, in general. Today, it’s your lucky day because you get to meet Buddy and some of his animal friends without even leaving your home. In this video, a zookeeper named Kellie introduces you to four very special animals who call Woodland Park their home. Join in the learning adventure as Kellie and her fellow zookeepers explain how the animals are cared for at the zoo, as well as how they’d typically live in the wild.

First, meet Buddy, a pharaoh eagle-owl. This amazing hunter has sharp talons that help him catch his prey. If Buddy were at home in Egypt, he’d eat small rodents, snakes, and bugs. At the zoo, he tends to eat mice. Buddy, like other pharaoh eagle-owls, has quite an impressive talent—in fact, it’s hard to believe what he can do with his neck.

Next, we get to learn all about a striped skunk named Harry. Native to the northern part of the U.S. and Canada, striped skunks are referred to as “nature’s gardeners” because they eat some of the things that we might consider pests, such as slugs, grubs, and small rodents like mice and rats. At the zoo, Harry eats bugs, fruits, and veggies. Have you ever smelled a skunk’s spray? It’s a pretty yucky smell that’s kind of like stinky, rotten eggs. Some people believe that you should take a bath in tomato sauce if you’ve been sprayed by a skunk, but Harry’s keeper says that there’s a much more effective, tomato-free strategy to try.

Moving on, meet an ambassador named Amarillo. This nine-banded armadillo’s skin is protected by a type of “armor” that’s made of keratin, the same thing that our hair and fingernails are made of. Armadillos are known as insectivores because they mainly eat insects. Amarillo really likes bugs such as grubs, worms, and ants. At birth, these mammals are born as four identical quadruplets, so Amarillo is one of four brothers who are all exactly the same. That’s pretty neat, don’t you think? Would you want to have three brothers or three sisters who were just like you?

The fourth animal we get to see is a friendly and slithery one named Zuni. This grey-banded kingsnake typically lives in Texas, New Mexico, and northern Mexico. They like it where it’s really hot, dry, and rocky. Though it’s very rare to see snakes like this in the wild, some people keep them as household pets because they tend to be really sweet and calm.

After meeting all four of these ambassador animals and learning all about what makes them special, do you have a favorite? They’re all so different, it’s pretty hard to pick just one!

Virtual Kids Week activities are intended for children with involvement from a parent or guardian.