This is the Santa Fe Teaching Zoo. It is located just north of Gainesville, and it is on the Santa Fe College campus. They have a ton of animals and it is run by students, so the zoo stays in tip-top shape almost all of the time. It is very affordable, it is $5 for adults, so when I went with my dad it was only $10! I saw Galapagos Tortoises, Bald Eagles, Asian Short-Clawed Otters, Tree Kangaroo, Red-Ruffed Lemurs, Cuban Amazon Parrot, Squirrel Monkey, Laughing Kookaburra, Great-Horned Owl, Ocelot, and Yellow-Crested Amazon Parrot. My favorite animals there were the Asian Short-Clawed Otters and the Australian Laughing Kookaburra.
The Asian Short-Clawed Otter (Aonyx cinerea) is the smallest otter species in the world. It weighs a little less that 11 pounds, and it ranges from 28-39 inches in length, where around 12 inches are just its tall. It lives mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands of Bangladesh, Burma, India, southern China, Taiwan, Lagos, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. This otter has claws that don’t extend longer than the fleshy parts of its fingers, which gives it amazing dexterity in the paws that allows it to hold onto mollusks, crabs, fish, and other small aquatic animals that it preys upon.
The Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) eats grasshoppers, lizards, mice, eggs, baby birds, and even snakes; it is in the Kingfisher family (Halcyonidae). It is 18inches tall and has a very large bill used to stab its prey. Juveniles have shorter bills, and the older the Kookaburra, the longer the bill. The Laughing Kookaburra lives in the Easter Australia, but has been introduces into Tasmania, New Zealand, and Wester Australia. I was discovered by Johann Hermann in 1783. The Laughing Kookaburra’s name comes from Wiradhuri, and Aboriginal language that is now extinct.