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Meet a friend in the Animal Discovery Room

Weekends & Holidays, 1:00–4:00 p.m.
Please call Visitor Services at 510-642-5132 for questions about animals at the Hall.

Critter Corner — Now Open

10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m., Weekends
Located in the Niche classroom

What is it like to live underwater? How does it feel to warm yourself on a rock? Get an introduction to the living world by meeting small mammals, reptiles, and arthropods. In the Critter Corner, which is perfect for ages 8 and under, you can observe how animals move, feel, and eat. Read stories and role-play with toy animals and habitats so that you can better understand animal life.

Animal Discovery Room

With our international colony of teaching animals—from axolotls to legless lizards—you can learn about animal behavior and habitats. Meet a new Animal Ambassador every 30 minutes, and feel their fur or scales. Try self-guided activities and examine specimen models. Our knowledgeable staff will introduce you to our wonderful creatures and share fun stories and interesting facts. Through these encounters you'll discover more about yourself and other organisms.

Explore Your Animal Interests
Learn more about live animals in camps, classes, birthday parties, and programs for schools and groups. We can even bring our animals to you!

Animals in the Animal Discovery Room

Animals you may meet when you visit us are listed below. Not all animals are on public view every day.

Snakes

  • Garter Snake
  • Gopher Snake
  • Columbian Red-Tailed Boa
  • Ball Pythons
  • Corn Snakes
  • California Kingsnake
  • Western Hognose Snake
  • Brazilian Rainbow Boa

Lizards

  • Leopard Geckos
  • Gargoyle Gecko
  • Crested Geckos
  • African Fat-Tailed Geckos
  • Legless Lizard (European Scheltopusik)
  • Inland Bearded Dragons
  • Fire Skink
  • Mali Uromastyx

Turtles

  • Three-Toed Box Turtles
  • Red-Eared Slider Pond Turtles
  • California Desert Tortoise
  • Eastern Box Turtle
  • Western Pond Turtle
  • South American Wood Turtle

Amphibians

  • White's Tree Frog
  • Marbled Salamander
  • American Bullfrogs
  • Dusky Salamander
  • Tiger Salamander
  • Fire-Bellied Toads
  • Western Toad
  • African Clawed Frog
  • Tomato Frog
  • Pacman Frog

Mammals

  • Rabbits
  • Chinchillas
  • Syrian Hamsters
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Mice
  • Long-Evans Rats

Birds

  • Ring-Necked Doves

Crustaceans

  • Hermit Crabs
  • Marine Hermit Crabs
  • Purple Lined Shore Crabs
  • Crayfish

Arachnids

  • Red Claw Emperor Scorpion (In Exhibit Hall)
  • Chilean Rose Hair Tarantulas (In Exhibit Hall)

Other Invertebrates

  • Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (In Exhibit Hall)
  • Walking Sticks
  • Crickets
  • Blue Death Feigning Beetles (In Exhibit Hall)
  • Smokey Oak Millipede
  • Sea Stars
  • Sea Urchins
  • Sea Anemones
  • Sea Snail

Fish

  • Plecostomus Fish
  • Carp
  • Tigerbarb

Cool Adaptations

You may think that fur is the best way to protect an animal from cold weather, but mammals aren't the only animals to have some cool tricks up their sleeve to protect themselves during the winter months. How does a turtle survive under water for months at a time while its lake is frozen over? How do amphibians protect their delicate skin from frosty weather? What animals are adapted to live in cold weather all year long? Learn about all of these things and more while visiting the Animal Discovery Room.

Rory the rabbit in Santa hat

Bindi Roo the Bearded Dragon

Bindi Roo has been with us in the Animal Discovery Room since 2011, when she was only a couple of months old. As she's grown, she's developed beautiful orange markings along her head. She has a mellow personality, but perks up immediately around her favorite foods, namely insects of any sort. She lives next to our female hissing cockroaches, but their movement got her so intrigued and hungry, we eventually had to block her view of them so she wouldn't be teased by their deliciousness! She also happily munches on vegetables and a little fruit, so she is an omnivore. Bearded dragons are from Australia, and their coloration helps them camouflage well in their desert habitat. Visit her on weekends and holidays in the Animal Discovery Room from 1:30–4:00 p.m.

Holiday Bindi Roo the bearded dragon

Adopt Animals

There are a number of animals in the Animal Discovery Room that have served us well for many years and are now ready to retire from the world of education. In some cases, we have more of one species than we really need. We are looking for permanent homes for these wonderful animals. A small adoption fee helps ensure that each animal goes to a family that is ready to take on the responsibility of adoption. Here is a current list of adoptable animals as well as criteria for adopting them.

Beginners:

Sorry, there are no animals available for adoption at this time.

Intermediate

Sorry, there are no animals available for adoption at this time.

Criteria For Adopting

  1. You must set up a time with the Animal Discovery Room Manager to talk about species-specific enclosure requirements and the animal's husbandry needs and history*. See Contact Us page for general contact information.
  2. You must provide your own enclosure with proper set up and food for the animal prior to picking it up.
  3. You must pay the $15.00 adoption fee for most animals. Mice are a $5.00 flat adoption fee, regardless of how many are adopted at once. Rats are $5.00 each.

*Note: Not all adoptable animals are recommended for households with small children.

Make a Donation

We do accept donations on occasion, but due to space limitations, we carefully screen all animals before they become a part of our teaching animal collection. ADR animals must be easily handled and even-tempered, since many are used in classes with children and members of the public. We also occasionally accept used animal enclosures as long as they are in good condition.

We house more than 50 species of animals and attempt to maintain variation in the ADR when accepting animal donations. Please contact us if you are interested in donating your animal or used animal enclosure to find out if it meets all of our criteria.

We Care About Our Animals

Special care is taken to ensure that all of our animals are housed correctly, with the proper substrate, heat, light, humidity, and enrichment. Undergraduate Animal Discovery Room (ADR) helpers, with the assistance of teen interns, conduct daily checks of all ADR animals. Helpers and interns are the first to notice any changes in the animals’ behavior or physical appearance. If there is a behavioral or physical change in an animal, it is monitored and may receive vet care depending on the severity of the situation. In order to monitor all of the ADR animals, we conduct monthly weight checks. New or sick animals are weighed weekly to ensure that they are adjusting well and staying healthy. When needed, we administer medicine, supplied by our veterinarians.

UC Berkeley Office of Laboratory and Animal Care (OLAC) veterinarians provide care for all our animals according to campus animal care and USDA regulations. Veterinarians are available 24/7 to provide quality veterinary care and advice. They do routine checkups on all of the animals, as well as operations and x-rays, and provide other veterinary services.

Animal Discovery Experience

Meet Alondra Blandon, our Animal Discovery Room manager, and get a behind the scenes tour.

Like the Animal Discovery Room on Facebook!