North American River Otter

North American River Otter

(Lontra canadensis)

There are three river otters at Seneca Park Zoo, one female and two male. Female Ashkii was born in 2016 and joined us from the National Zoo in March 2020. One male, Sailor, was born in 2007 and came to the Zoo in May 2012 from a private facility in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The other male, Gary, was born in February 2022 and came to us in 2023.

Animal Facts

Diet

River otters are carnivorous creatures. They eat fish, crayfish, frogs, salamanders, snakes, clams, snails, turtles, birds, rodents and insects.

Status in The Wild

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status

North American river otters reside throughout the U.S. and Canada along rivers, near streams and lakes bordered by woods with wetlands.

North American river otters have been trapped for their highly-prized furs, resulting in a steep decrease in population since the 1800s. However, the otter is being restored to places where it is regionally threatened, resulting in an otter come back in many places. Seneca Park Zoo is part of an initiative to reintroduce the river otter back to Western New York. Releases have taken place in Honeoye Lake and the Genesee River, among other locations. Laws protecting the otter from over-hunting and habitat destruction have been important U.S. conservation measures.

Red-Eared Slider

Red-Eared Slider

(Trachemys scripta elegans)

There are two red-eared sliders at Seneca Park Zoo and they can be found in the Genesee Trail (seasonally).

Animal Facts

Diet

Omnivore. Adults feed on plant and animal matter. They like to eat snails, tadpoles and fish, as well as duckweed and water lilies.

Status in The Wild

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status

Red-eared sliders are from the southeastern United States and also live in New York State. They can often be found basking on logs or stumps in or near water.

Humans are the greatest enemy of red-eared sliders. Each year, turtles are harmed; mainly from habitat destruction and pollution.

Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk

(Buteo jamaicensis)

The Zoo is home to one female red-tailed hawk who came to the Zoo in May 2014. The red-tailed hawk is a medium-sized bird of prey. Its head is distinguished by a hooked beak and supraorbital ridge over the eyes.

Animal Facts

Diet

Red-tailed hawks feed mostly on small- to medium-sized mammals such as voles, squirrels, rabbits and hares. They rarely take (but have been observed consuming) birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, large insects and carrion.

Status in The Wild

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status

Red-tailed hawks are widespread and the most common hawk throughout North America.

In Alaska and Canada, they migrate to avoid severe winters, with migration peaking in October/November. Habitats vary but include rural and urban areas that contain woods, open country, deserts and mountains.

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

(Bubo scandiaca)

The Zoo is home to two snowy owls, a male named Tundra and a female named Flurry. Tundra was hatched in July 2013 and came from the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA. In 2014, he was confiscated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission from a private citizen. Because he was imprinted on humans, he was deemed unable to be re-released. Flurry was born at the Akron Zoo in May 2023 and came to us in February 2024 on a breeding recommendation. 

Animal Facts

Diet

Lemmings, mice, rabbits, rodents, waterfowl, other birds and fish.

Status in The Wild

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status

Snowy owls are found circumpolar, most often in Arctic habitats where they breed including coastal Alaska, Canada, and Greenland.

They can also be found in northern Scandinavia, Russia, southern Novaya Zemlya (a large island off the northern coast of Russia) and northern Siberia. During the winter season, some snowy owls migrate south to more temperate habitats. Snowy owls usually inhabit open tundra during summer months. They also inhabit lowland grasslands (saltwater grass meadows and freshwater wet meadows), especially for hunting.

They are protected, however, under the U.S. Migratory Bird Act and CITES Appendix II. Snowy owls are victims of collisions with vehicles, gunshot wounds, utility line and airplane collisions, electrocutions and entanglement with fishing lines.

Spotted Turtle

Spotted Turtle

(Clemmys guttata)

Seneca Park Zoo is home to two spotted turtles that are a part of the Zoo’s ambassador animal program.

Animal Facts

Diet

Spotted turtles are omnivores. They eat algae, water lily seeds, worms, slugs, grass, mollusks and amphibian eggs.

Status in The Wild

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status

These turtles are native to New York State and the Midwest.

In these areas, fragmentation and loss of wetland habitats has resulted in the population decline of the spotted turtle. The loss of this animal is also attributed to them being used in the pet trade industry.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

(Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

There is one male bald eagle, Maverick, at Seneca Park Zoo. Maverick was born around 2012 and arrived at the Zoo in 2016. He had suffered wing injuries in their natural ranges and cannot fly. Only bald eagles that have been determined to be unable to live in their natural range are kept in conservation care, where they can thrive without threats to their survival.

Animal Facts

Diet

The bald eagle is carnivorous and eats fish, birds, rodents, snakes and carrion.

Status in The Wild

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status

Bald eagles live in North America from Florida to Alaska. They roost in tall trees near clean, fish-filled water in undeveloped areas.