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

Open Daily, 1:30–4:00 p.m.

With our international colony of teaching animals—from axolotls to legless lizards—you can learn about animal behavior and habitats. 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.

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

Please call Visitor Services at 510-642-5132 with questions about animals at the Hall.

Critter Corner

Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.–12:00 noon
In the Hall’s Niche Classroom
Starting Saturday, October 7th

Meet a new Animal Ambassador every 30 minutes, and feel its fur or scales. Critter Corner is a perfect way to introduce the animal kingdom to young learners, ages 8 and under, in a safe and guided environment. Learn more.

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.


  • Ribbon Snake
  • Colombian Red-Tailed Boa
  • Ball Pythons
  • Corn Snakes
  • Milk Snake
  • Western Hognose Snake
  • Brazilian Rainbow Boa


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


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


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


  • Rabbits
  • Chinchilla (in Exhibit Hall)
  • Syrian Hamsters
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Mice
  • Long-Evans Rats


  • Ring-Necked Doves


  • Hermit Crabs
  • Crayfish


  • Chilean Rose Hair Tarantulas (in Exhibit Hall)

Other Invertebrates

  • Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (in Exhibit Hall)
  • Crickets (in Exhibit Hall)
  • Blue Death Feigning Beetles (in Exhibit Hall)
  • Smokey Oak Millipede


  • 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*


January—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 as well as select holidays in the Animal Discovery Room (ADR) from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.

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.

Check out our beautiful 300-gallon tank 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.

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.