Encounter Live Animals on the Ark

by Ark Encounter on June 19, 2017

The Ararat Ridge Zoo at the Ark Encounter continues to expand with many new animals, but that isn’t the only place you’ll be able to see them at the Ark Encounter! When you visit, you may be able to meet some of the animals as you walk through Deck Two of our life-size Noah’s Ark.

Ark Animal Encounters

Every day, our zookeepers rotate which animals are brought aboard the Ark. Learn more about our some of our new animals that you might encounter on the second deck.

Learn About Lizards

We have three carnivorous lizards in the Ararat Ridge Zoo, including a Nile monitor (Ramses), a white-throated monitor (Malachi), and a red tegu (Jethro).

African Monitor lizards like Ramses and Malachi are extremely intelligent. Their forked tongues point to the amazing analytic capabilities of the Jacobson’s organ. They have even demonstrated the ability to count! Monitor lizards are excellent hunters and adept swimmers. Nile monitors are known for cooperating while foraging, and white-throated monitors are known for being immune to many snake venoms.

White-throated Monitor

Red tegus like Jethro are found in the rainforests of South America, Although they are primarily terrestrial, they are good swimmers and can hold their breath for up to 22 minutes! They are considered the smartest of reptiles, with forked tongues and Jacobson’s organs like the monitor lizards. Tegus are known for forming strong bonds with their handlers.

You can learn more about each of these amazing creatures in this video with our president and CEO, Ken Ham.

Say Hi to a Hedgehog

Our two African hedgehogs, Priscilla and Aquila, often make appearances on Deck Two. Each hedgehog has over 6,000 quills, which are used for defense as well as cushioning. These quills are made of keratin, the same material as your hair and fingernails. You may have the opportunity to touch our hedgehogs’ quills on the Ark!

African Hedgehog

Identify Iguanas

We also have a new rhinoceros iguana, Samson, and a new green iguana, Delilah. Did you know that iguanas like Samson and Delilah have three eyes? These parietal eyes are located on the tops of their heads, and although they do not form clear images like normal eyes, these eyes detect changes in light and motion. Samson and Delilah are very friendly and will allow guests to touch them while they are present on Deck Two.


Start planning your trip to the Ark Encounter today! During your visit, don’t forget to head out to the Ararat Ridge Zoo, which is located behind the Ark and included with your admission tickets. Share your favorite photos of our animals with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using #arkencounter.