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Meet Our Ambassadors!

Our animal ambassadors work to educate the public about their species, habitats, and adaptations. Each of these animals either joins us for shows, or educates the public at our facility in Des Moines, Iowa. 


Do you or your company want to sponsor one of our animal ambassadors? These sponsorships help the Sanctuary Each of our sponsors will automatically receive a monthly update on the animals we care for and the ongoings of the Sanctuary, as well as any future opportunities that the Sanctuary provides!

Orazio (Raz) - Crested Gecko

Orazio is unique, even for a crested gecko. Despite his lack of a tail and one blind eye, this guy lives for flying. Raz proves that sheer willpower is enough to get where you want to be.

The Girls - Mourning Geckos

The girls are quite an interesting crew, and one that stays together. These small geckos are parthenogenic, meaning that there are no males needed for offspring to be produced.

Spelunk - Chinese Cave Gecko

Spelunk the Chinese Cave Gecko is quite the lively little dude, that is, once he gets out of his hiding spots! He loves to chill away back in his little caves, but once he is out and about he is sure to catch the attention of those around him!

Tortilla (Tilly) - Three Toed Box Turtle

Tilly is one of the fastest turtles you will ever see, but only when she sees bugs, her favorite food. Box turtles get their name from their ability to completely close their hinged plastron and hide within.

Nemo - Honduran Milk Snake

Nemo is the smallest snake at the sanctuary, and also the most colorful! Milk Snakes have a coloration that mimics that of a coral snake which helps them from getting eaten by any larger predators that look at them like a snack! While Nemo is small, he is full of personality!

Nectar - Bearded Dragon

Nectar looks quite different from most bearded dragons you may have seen. This is due to her genetic code causing her to lack the scales that give many beardies their classic beardie look.

Robert - Schneiders Skink

Robert the Schneiders Skink is named after the actor, Rob Schneider. While our Rob is not much for the theater, he can still put on quite the scene. He is not afraid to run around his enclosure and climb, as long as he is awake!

The Newts - Marbled Newts

The Newts are a group of Marbled Newts that reside in the Sanctuary. While they are unassuming at first, they provide many lessons about amphibian body morphology and lifestyles than the frogs that reside here. They are fascinating critters that are stunning to look at.

Treeko - Tokay Gecko

As a Tokay Gecko, Treeko is quite the handful! Tokay Geckos are notoriously feisty critters that are known for their call that resembles the sound “Tokay!”. They are also one of the most brightly colored geckos when they are fired up!

Fluffy - Leopard Gecko

Fluffy's favorite movie character is Curly from "The Three Stooges", as this is where the inspiration for his name came from. He possesses a morph that changes his color from the natural yellow to a white coloring.

Jupiter - Knob Tailed Gecko

Jupiter is a Knob Tailed Gecko (Which means that is how his tail is supposed to look!). He is quite the unassuming apex predator, as he is a great hunter and will often even eat from tongs presented by our guests!

Adonis - Cherry Headed Tortoise

Adonis is a fan favorite amongst the sanctuary, and is often one of the first animals people fall in love with! Being a tortoise, Adonis is not intimidating to new visitors, and many people even get to feed him some of his favorite snacks: fruit!

Bo - Boa Constrictor

Bo was one of our hardest rehabilitation stories to date, and he has quickly became a fan favorite at the sanctuary! Bo is a very resilient snake who has powered through very tough circumstances to become one of the best ambassadors we have.

Button - Bearded Dragon

As a bearded dragon, Button may not come off as the most special or unique animal at the sanctuary, at least until you hear his story. Button is a nearly two year old Bearded Dragon that has stagnated at only about 5 inches long. This doesn’t slow him down at all though, as he continues to thrive with some additional attention from our keepers!

Tsuchinoko (Tsuchi) - Blue Tongue Skink

Tsuchi is a Blue Tongue Skink from the island of Halmahera in Indonesia. As the name suggests, he has a blue tongue that his species can flash at incoming predators to catch them off guard.

Tumbo - African Bullfrog

Tumbo's name comes from the Swahili word for "Belly". We often say that all that goes on in Tumbo's head is elevator music. At around the size of a softball, Tumbo has quite the appetite, as the name suggests.

Pico De Gallo (Pico) - Giant Day Gecko

Pico is quite the handful when it comes to... well, handling? Giant Day Geckos don't like being touched, and if they are they are VERY quick. That said, he loves to chase bugs whenever he gets the chance!

Mocha - African Fat Tailed Gecko

Mocha, our African Fat Tailed Gecko, is the sweetest little guy you could ever imagine! While he hasn’t been the longest ambassador that we have had, he is one of the favorites for many of the people who come in!

The Turtles - African Side Neck Turtles

The Turtles are a pair of African Side Necked Turtles that reside in our aquatic portion of the zoo. As side necks, they tilt their head to the side rather than pulling their head strait into their shell.

Myrcella - Ball Python

Myrcella is a ball python which is one of the most common snakes in the pet trade, and for good reason! She is one of the sweetest animals we have, and she is the ambassador we recommend to anyone who is new to snakes as a great first step. She has yet to disappoint in making people fall in love with them!

Maizey - Corn Snake

Maizey the albino corn snake is named after the corn that her species is named for! They got this name because they were often found around corn where they would hunt rodent prey that would eat the grain.

Dhub Dhub - Yellow Uromastyx

As a Uromastyx, Dhub Dhub embodies the phrase "Business in the front, party in the back". As an herbivore, his species has a lot of predators, and he uses that spiky tail to scare them away if he feels threatened.

Octavia - Argentine Black and White Tegu

The Argentine Tegu is the largest lizard species from the western world, in addition to being one of the most personable and intelligent lizard species on the planet. Octavia is no exception.


Meet our Star Sponsors!

Our Star Sponsors have been a tremendous support toward our Animal Ambassadors!

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