Open 361 Days a Year: Admissions 10:00am – 3:30pm; park closes at 4:30pm

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Reservations are not required, and tickets do not need to be purchased online in advance.

Meatloaf the Hellbender

Hellbender

Cryptobranchus alleganiensis

Appearance: Growing up to 2 feet long and weighing more than 3 pounds, the eastern hellbender is among the world’s largest salamanders.  Hellbenders have a variety of colors from gray to reddish brown with a lighter belly. They also have small gray-ish eyes and a flat body built for hunkering down on a streambed.

Range: Hellbenders are rare in the state of North Carolina but their range expands throughout some of the mountainous Eastern U.S.  Hellbenders take residence under rocks and if their homes are disturbed, it is very difficult for them to establish a new territory.

Diet: Hellbenders eat a variety of small fish, crayfish, and aquatic insects. They are mostly nocturnal and rely on touch and smell to catch food, although it does see relatively well.

Meatloaf the Hellbender

Meatloaf

Date of Birth: 2005-2007

Meatloaf came to the Nature Center in 2008 after being unintentionally captured by a fisherman who had no idea what it was! He was an adult when he was caught, so Meatloaf’s age is an estimate.

 

Meet our other animals

American Black Bear

American Black Bear

Generally shy and reclusive animals, black bears avoid human contact and are not normally aggressive. Two black bears, Uno and Ursa, live at the Nature Center.

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American Pygmy Goat

American Pygmy Goat

Similar to the Nigerian dwarf goat, the American pygmy is a small goat that only reaches 1-2 feet in height. They vary widely in coloration including white, tan, caramel, gray, and black.

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Red Wolf Karma

American Red Wolf

Red wolves are highly endangered species that has been eliminated from almost all of its natural range. Our breeding pair of red wolves, Oak and Gloria, are part of the AZA Species Survival Plan.

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