Hello from the Wildlife Center!
The Traveling Natural History Program is excited to welcome two new animal ambassadors to our team! The staff are working diligently to provide them care and training to help them adjust to a life at Chewonki.
The first is a young Chinese Water Dragon, also known as a Green Dragon for the vibrant green pattern of their scales. Water Dragons are often found waterside, basking on rocks and branches and then diving into the waters for safety. Their long tails (which make up nearly half their total length) are narrow like an oar to cut through the water, aiding in swimming.
This young dragon was originally purchased as a pet by a family, but then given over to Mr. Drew and His Animals Too in Lewiston, when the owners were concerned over its declining health. With proper care, medication and nutrition, the little lizard has recovered their color and vitality, and regained a hearty appetite! While still quite small, Chinese Water Dragons can reach formidable sizes, some over 3 feet long including the tail!
We have a history of caring for Water Dragons at Chewonki, and we are confident that they will grow up to be a wonderful ambassador for the natural world, joining our reptiles, biomes, and adaptations programs to name a few.
Our second new addition is a young, tailless Virginia Opossum! She comes to us from Volunteers for Wildlife in New York, and is still rather shy, as we work patiently with her to help her grow more comfortable in her new living spaces. As the weather becomes more consistently warm at night, she will be moving outdoors near the aviaries, in a large outdoor space to provide a safe and enriching environment.
Opossums are nocturnal, omnivorous marsupials, who keep their young in a pouch, and use their prehensile tails to assist them in mobility while moving through their habitat. Without such a tail, our Opossum would be at a significant disadvantage in the wild, and it is one of the main reasons she was selected as a permanent resident. She is an amazing and charismatic representative for our many mammals of Maine.
There is a long (and exciting!) road of training and building working relationships ahead, and we look forward to introducing the public to our new animal ambassadors on programs in the future!