Animal Care

Caring for wildlife is a central focus of EcoTarium's mission. Most of the animals in our care have been injured or raised in a captive environment and are not equipped with the skills needed to survive in the wild. Some are unable to fly. Others are unable to hunt their own food or to do other important daily activities of a wild animal.

The EcoTarium offers these animals permanent homes where they are ensured to get the food, medical treatment and daily care they need to continue to have a good quality of life.

Animals come to the museum from a variety of sources, including the Tufts University Wildlife Clinic, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife or other wildlife or conservation organizations. New animals are arriving frequently.

Currently, the museum is home to a number of animals, including red foxes, river otters, bald eagles, owls, snakes, turtles, a turkey vulture, tropical birds, and more. The presence of these animals throughout the museum and grounds allows wildlife educators and caretakers to illustrate relationships between wildlife and people through programming and exhibits.

Animals living at the EcoTarium are also the focus of popular and educational museum programs including Birds of Prey, Wild Toys, public feedings and animal encounters as well as special events.

Exhibits such as Freshwater Ecosystems provide recreated wetland habitats for fish, insects, reptiles and an opossum, while allowing the public an opportunity to see and understand how different species interact within New England's ponds, swamps, bogs and marshes.

For many years, the EcoTarium participated in a statewide "Head Start" program for the endangered Northern red-bellied cooter. These small cooters can be seen each winter at the museum as they grow from tiny hatchlings into a size large enough to be released into the wild with a fighting chance against predators.

In the past, the EcoTarium's animal care staff has also participated in other endangered species restoration efforts, as well as in the rehabilitation and release of injured wild animals, from red-tailed hawks to black bears.