Mini Zoo

The Native Species

The Mini Zoo is one of the biggest attractions at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum. Visitors can observe several species of native snakes, lizards, arachnids and insects while learning about their biology. 


Do we think wild animals should be in cages? No! All animals the museum cares for were either injured and could not be released after rehab, or were bred in captivity. The museum is not accepting wild-caught or releasable animals, or any critters that would not thrive in captivity.  Museum staff is trying everything to make their lives as nature-like and happy as possible. They are visited by the veterinarian twice a year and are being spoiled by staff and visitors every day. 

...and the Cockroaches

The museum houses two species of cockroaches: Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (native to Madagascar), and Cave Cockroaches (native to Central America). These cockroaches are not native, but are incredibly beautiful, smart, interesting, and adored by staff. They have made guest appearances at local elementary schools, Career Days and Community Events. They have been ever popular with visiting youngsters during field trips and, occasionally, they have made grown men grit their teeth with fear.

...and the Cockatiel

The museum’s cockatiel, P.V. (Pretty Vicious), joined the museum almost 15 years ago. He was rescued in the parking lot across the street from the museum and looked pretty rough. After some food, drink, and a good bite into the educator’s finger, it was decided we should try to find his owner. No luck. P.V. quickly made himself at home with us and became a cherished member of the museum family. He loves crackers, feet and misty showers from the spray bottle.