Did you know that COSI is home to several animals, including snakes, opossums, chickens and turtles? We have around 40 different species in house averaging 60 individuals and 11 separate colonies.
You can meet some of them here through our virtual wild experience.
Big Sis and Lil Sis are in fact both boys. They received their names before being identified as such and the names just never changed. What they lack in size (adult spotted turtles stay under 6”), they make up for in attitude. The “Napoleon complex” would be a fitting term for these feisty little turtles. They can be “spotted” in our Lily Pad exhibit.
Spotted turtles are a federally endangered species. Reasons for their population decline include the loss of wetlands where they live, an increased number of their top predator – the raccoon, as well as the black market pet industry. If you “spot” one of these turtles in the wild, be sure to keep that location to yourself so you don’t accidentally tip off an illegal pet trader.
Bucket has been with us for many years and was donated by a family who had kept her as a pet. In 2016 during a routine vet check, we discovered that she started carrying unfertilized eggs. Given her popularity with our guests, we decided to add another rescued box turtle to our collection to give Bucket some space while she laid her eggs. This is when Chum joined our team. Both turtles live together harmoniously.
Regulations regarding housing of this species have changed over the years as their populations have declined. It is currently illegal to house any native Ohio species without appropriate permits in an effort to protect and restore populations.
Arrchimedes is an Eastern screech owl that was found injured in the wild and was brought to a wildlife rescue to be rehabilitated. Unfortunately, she is unable to catch live food as a result of her injuries and is therefore unreleaseable. She has adjusted well to living here at COSI and is a solid little program bird that allows for a rare opportunity to see one of these owls up close.
These owls are common here in central Ohio, though they are very difficult to find! Instead of looking up into the trees to try and find them, look around the base of the tree for castings (pellets) and droppings (distinctive white urates). Once you find these identifiers, that’s the tree you will want to keep an eye on.
Patches O’Houlihan was rescued from being attacked by a dog but suffered a spinal injury that affects his mobility. His injury resulted in him being non-releasable which is how he found a home here at COSI. He enjoys walks out in Big Science Park and is part of various animal programs we offer. Virginia opossums are fascinating marsupials (!) with terribly short lifespans of only 2 years. This August, Patches will be considered an old man.
Toothless is a 2018 hatchling on loan from the Ohio Division of Wildlife. He is a part of a conservation effort to help save this endangered species here in Ohio. He is currently on display in our Lily Pad exhibit.
Hellbenders are the largest amphibian in Ohio reaching up to 2’ in length! They also have some of the best nicknames in the animal kingdom: Snot otter, Allegheny alligator, Grampus, and Old lasagna sides, just to name a few.