UPDATE:  As of July 1, 2020, until further notice, the WNC Nature Center remains temporarily closed to the public. The Nature Center is working closely with local officials to develop a plan to safely reopen. This will most likely take place during Phase 3 of North Carolina’s Stay Safe COVID-19 order. We anticipate opening during the month of September and will update the website and our social media platforms as soon as a date is confirmed.

Open 361 Days a Year: 10:00am – 5:00pm, last entry 4:30pm

Sassy the Raccoon

Raccoon

Procyon lotor

Raccoons are masters of adaptation. They can live in many different habitats including urban and suburban areas. Their unique bandit-like masks and ringed tails make these mammals easily recognized. Nimble feet give raccoons special skills. They use their sensitive, dexterous paws to tell the difference between objects, open things, and examine their food. Raccoons enjoy searching shallow waters for small aquatic animals like crayfish and freshwater mussels. They also eat a variety of fruits, berries, and seeds. In suburban areas, they may raid garbage cans, bird feeders, or gardens for food. Due to loss of large predators, raccoons have few natural predators and their populations are considered well established throughout the country. Disease, infection, and run-ins with cars are the biggest threats to this mammal.

Sassy

Sassy was born in February 2005. She was taken in as a pet and was later donated to the Nature Center by her owners when they were no longer able to care for her.

In the state of North Carolina, it is illegal to keep native wildlife without a permit. When wild animals are hand-raised as pets, they become imprinted on humans. This means they have no fear of humans and never learned the skills they would need to survive in the wild.

Sassy loves special enrichments that allow her to forage for food. Although she is a grown adult, she sucks on her foot much as a young child would suck on his or her thumb!

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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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, Karma and Garnet, are part of the AZA Species Survival Plan.

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Angora Goat

Angora Goat

Angoras are primarily browsing animals and thrive best where there is a good cover of brush, weeds, and grass.    Disliking the rain, Angoras are well adapted to a dry, mild climate.

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