Kingdom:  Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Canidae

Genus: Canis

Species: lupus

Height: Head and body, 36 to 63 in (91 to 160 cm); Tail, 13 to 20 in (33 to 51 cm)

Weight: 40 to 175 lbs (18 to 79 kg)

Lifespan: Average of 5-6 years, but up to 15 years.


  • Fur color of gray wolves varies geographically, ranging from pure white in Arctic populations, to mixtures of white with gray, brown, cinnamon, and black to nearly uniform black in some color phases.
  • Wolves live, travel and hunt in packs of 7 to 8 animals on average. Packs include the mother and father wolves (called the alphas), their pups and older offspring. The alpha female and male are typically the pack leaders that track and hunt prey such as elk, deer, moose and caribou, as well as beaver, rabbits and other small prey.
  • Wolves develop strong social bonds within their packs.  The social heirarchy is established and maintained through aggressiveness, elaborate greetings, and submission.
  • The gray wolf is the largest wild canine.
  • Gray wolves communicate using vocalizations, scent marking, and body language. Howling is used to communicate territorial cues over long distances and helps to bring the pack back together when they are dispersed. Each wolf has a distinct howl.
  • Wolves play a key role in keeping ecosystems healthy. They help keep deer and elk populations in check, which can benefit many other plant and animal species. The carcasses of their prey also help to redistribute nutrients and provide food for other wildlife species, like grizzly bears and scavengers. Scientists are just beginning to fully understand the positive ripple effects that wolves have on ecosystems.



Currently at ZooMontana:

  • Kali:  Female, Born May 2009
  • Kaluha:  Male, Born April 2010



You can help provide care for our Gray Wolves through our ADOPT program! - Adopt Kali and Kaluha Today!



 Click HERE to Return to the "Meet Our Animals" Page.



North American Beaver: Meet Our Animals








Kingdom:  Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Rodentia

Family: Castoridae

Genus: Castor

Species: canadensis

Height: Head and body, 23 to 39 in (60 to 100 cm); tail, 7.75 to 12 in (20 to 30.5 cm)

Weight: 60 lbs (27 kg)

Lifespan: Up to 24 years


  • Beavers are primarily aquatic animals, and the largest rodents in North America. They have a waterproof coat and use their webbed rear feet like swimming fins,and their paddle-shaped tails like rudders.  They can remain underwater for up
    to 15 minutes without surfacing.
  • Beavers eat bark and cambium (the softer tissue under the bark of trees). They also eat water vegetation, as well as
    buds, and roots. Cellulose, which usually can not be digested by mammals, is a major component of their diet.
    Special microorganisms allow them to digest this material.
  • Beavers create habitats for themselves and other animals by building dams. Gnawing trees with their strong teeth and powerful jaws, they create massive log, branch, and mud structures to block streams and turn fields and forests into the large ponds that beavers love.
  • Domelike beaver homes, called lodges, are constructed of branches and mud. They are often strategically located in the middle of ponds and can only be reached by
    underwater entrances.



Currently at ZooMontana:

  • Huck:  Female, Born May 2010
  • Finn:  Male, Born May 2011


Huck and Finn are both great examples of some of the positive things that zoos do. Huck and Finn both started their lives outside of ZooMontana but have now resided here for a few years.

Huck came to ZooMontana in 2010 as a young female. Huck was born in the wild but both of her parents were killed in an unfortunate accident that left her homeless. She was rescued by the state but could not be returned to the wild as she would not have learned the survival skills from her parents that is required for a beaver to live in the wild. ZooMontana happily accepted her and she has been here ever since.

Finn also came to us as a young beaver in 2011 but his situation was a bit different. Finn was being kept as an illegal pet until the state intervened. Finn was then brought to ZooMontana as he would also not be able to survive in the wild. Finn is a perfect example of why wild animals should not be kept as pets.

Huck and Finn live together year round in our beaver exhibit and beaver holding building.  During the summer they spend the days running around their exhibits, swimming in their pool and eating their food. Their food is made up of Rodent Block (a special zoo food, aka boring food) as well as apples, carrots, yams and jicamas. They also get a steady supply of fresh browse from the trees on ZooMontana grounds.

When fall arrives and temperatures drop, you will see the beavers digging holes in their exhibits. The main reason for this is that they are trying to build a den to stay in throughout the winter. Once we see this behavior we bring the beavers into their indoor area and keep them there throughout the winter. If we didn’t bring them in at this time they would dig a massive cave in their exhibit (we know this because we have unfortunately seen it, naughty beavers). Their indoor area has a pond and bed and lots of branches for them to build forts and dams with. Huck and Finn are the only animals at ZooMontana that spend the entire winter off exhibit (in other words, they are the prima donnas of the zoo).

Huck and Finn don’t mind keepers working around them. Finn is much more accepting of attention and enjoys training sessions with Keeper Kim (he’s basically a suck up). Huck isn’t mean, but she does enjoy having her space (not a suck up). When looking at them Huck is the one that appears to be much larger than Finn. Even though Huck is larger, she only weighs a pound more than Finn (she does not carry her weight well at all). Huck and Finn are both a little over 50 lbs. and this makes them the second largest rodent in the world (the capybara has them beat in size. But we still love Huck and Finn even though they come in second in rodent size).




 Click HERE to Return to the "Meet Our Animals" Page.














Kingdom:  Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Accipitriformes

Family: Accipitridae

Genus: Haliaeetus

Species: leucocephalus

Height: Body, 34 to 43 in (86 to 109 cm); Wingspan, 6 to 8 ft (1.8 to 2.4 m)

Weight: 6.5 to 14 lbs (3 to 6.5 kg)

Lifespan: Average of 15-20 years, but up to more than 30 years on occasion.


  • Bald Eagles became rare in the mid-to-late 1900s, victims of trapping, shooting, poisoning and pesticide use.  In 1978, they were listed for protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.  Since then, gentler treatment by humans and the banning of DDT (the bird’s main pesticide threat) have led to their return.  Eagles still face hardships, however,  
    including lead poisoning from ammunition in hunter-shot prey and collisions with vehicles.

  • Bald Eagles build some of the largest of all bird nests.  Called aeries, they are typically 5 to 6 feet in diameter and 2 to 4 feet tall, and ranging in shape from cylindrical to conical to flat, depending on the supporting tree. Both sexes bring materials to the nest, but the female does most of the placement.
  • These birds typically prefer forested areas near large water bodies such as sea coasts,
    coastal estuaries and inland lakes and rivers since fish are at the center of their diet.
  • Rather than do their own fishing, Bald Eagles often go after other creatures’ catches. A Bald Eagle will harass a hunting Osprey until the smaller raptor drops its prey in midair, where the eagle swoops it up. A Bald Eagle may even snatch a fish directly out of an Osprey’s talons. Fishing mammals (even people sometimes) can also lose prey to Bald Eagle piracy.


Currently at ZooMontana:


Amelio:  Male, Hatched June of 2005

Amelio came to us from a rehab center in Anchorage, Alaska. He originated from Dutch Harbor on Amaknak Island in Unalaska, Alaska. We were told that he was shot by a hunter, therefore the extensive wing damage which makes him unreleasable back into the wild.  It was initially believed that Amelio was a female until blood tests were taken.  The results were conclusive and Amelia became Amelio.


Tokata:  Female, Hatched 1996

It was believed that Tokata hit a power line with the tip of her wing (breaking her wrist).  Because of this injury, she is unreleasable to the wild.  She was originally brought in to be an Education Ambassador animal, but it was decided to instead introduce her into the exhibit to provide companionship with Amelio.She normally lays 2 eggs each spring, but due to Fish Wildlife and Parks regulations, Bald Eagle breeding is highly regulated.  The eggs are removed before hatching and replaced with fake "dummy" eggs which she continues to sit on.  This prevents her from "double clutching" or laying more eggs which could lead to a calcium deficiency down the road.  Amelio often sits on the nest.  After a couple of months, the fake eggs are removed and the eagles return to their usual perching spots above until the next nesting season.


You can help provide care for our Bald Eagles through our ADOPT program! - Adopt Tokata and Amelio Today!



Click HERE to Return to the "Meet Our Animals" Page.