Header Image: 
Three girls in the Animal Discovery room, one holding a chinchilla and another petting him

Meet a friend in the Animal Discovery Room

Weekends & Select Holidays, 1:30–4:00 p.m.

Critter Corner:
Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.–12:00 noon
In the Hall’s Niche Classroom

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 about them. 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

Critter Corner

Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.–12:00 noon
in the Hall’s 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.

Box Turtle swimming in his tank

Featured Critter Schedule*

2016
October—Mice
November—Turtles
December—Hermit Crabs

2017
January—Lizards
February—Rabbits (new)
March—Mice
April—Turtles
May—Hermit Crabs

*Please note, the featured critter is subject to change.

Mocca, the Colombian Red-tailed Boa

Mocca is the largest snake we have in our animal colony. She’s approximately 13 years old, is almost 8 feet long, and weighs about 28 pounds. It usually takes two staff to pick her up, but once one person gets her wrapped around their waist, Mocca can hang on as if she were wrapped around a tree and hold herself up. Despite her intimidating size, she is a gentle giant and can be quite shy, preferring to spend much of the day curled up resting or observing visitors from the security of her hiding places. She is a boa constrictor and will wrap around her prey, such as a large rat, to devour it whole. She uses her strong muscles to swallow her prey, slowly digesting it. She only needs to eat once every three weeks! Mocca can also be a little bit of a picky eater, and sometimes takes up to an hour to decide she finally wants to eat a rat. At the Hall, we only feed previously frozen rats and mice, which we carefully defrost, warm up, and rub in a bedding that smells like a live rodent. This way we help protect our snakes from possible harm from a live rodent that might not be too keen on being eaten!

Visit Mocca and all our Animal Ambassadors on weekends and select holidays in the Animal Discovery Room from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.

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 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. ADR animals must be easily handled and even-tempered.

This October we’ll be unveiling our new pond-turtle tank! This beautiful 300-gallon tank was purchased by donations from the Sally Molander Memorial Gift fund and from our generous Lawrence Hall of Science visitors. Observe the turtles exploring their new habitat, sunbathing in their larger land area, and showing off their swimming skills while they chase live fish and even each other.

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.