Check out what’s happening at Caldwell Zoo! Here you’ll find both recent news and information on upcoming events at the Zoo.


One of the grandest old ladies of Caldwell Zoo has died. Sierra, our adult female mountain lion, died February 5, 2014. She was born in the wild here in Texas in 1992 and was raised by her mother. She was relocated to Florida where Sierra was an integral part of a genetic restoration program for Florida panthers. She produced two litters of cubs in the wild and the surviving cubs of those litters have produced cubs of their own. When it was felt that she had met her intended quota of offspring, she was captured and taken to White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, Florida, where she quickly acclimated to her new life. In 2003, Sierra arrived here at the Caldwell Zoo. At the time of her death, at age 22, Sierra was the oldest mountain lion in any of the zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Her longevity is a testament to the excellent care she received by the animal care staff. She will be missed by all who came in contact with her. Our young mountain lions, Monte and Palus, are still on exhibit.


Doc and his three sisters

We have four baby lions! On January 22nd, Njeri, our female African lion, gave birth to five lion cubs. One youngster died shortly after birth, but the remaining four are doing very well under the watchful eye of their mom. Zoo staff is being careful not to disturb this new family, but the three females and one male were given a once-over and weighed on February 19th. The little ones have certainly grown! They weigh eight to ten pounds now and can be seen exploring as they venture out of their den box.
The proud parents of our four youngsters are mom Njeri (name is Kenyan for "daughter of a warrior") who was born July 25, 2011, and was donated to Caldwell Zoo by the Milwaukee County Zoo and dad Ayotunde (name means "joy has returned" in Yoruba) who was born July 28, 2011, and comes to us from the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson.

Right now, the youngsters are inside with mom, but weather permitting, the zoo does have a video cam set up at the lion house so you can see a live feed of the cubs and mom in their den.


The servals have moved! You will now find them in the enclosure near the bongos, duikers and colobus monkeys. And, now living where the servals were (by bobcats), you will find our newest member of the cat family – Maya the ocelot. Maya is still adjusting to her new home and sometimes doesn't venture far from the door to her indoor quarters.


Caldwell Zoo has been invaded by some eight-legged wonders – tarantulas! These creatures come from four continents – Asia, Africa, North and South America. These unique beauties, like the ghost ornamental tarantula (pictured above) from Asia, also include the Brazilian white knee that can grow to over eight inches, the incredible Goliath bird-eater which really can eat small birds, and the horned baboon tarantula which does have a horn-like protrusion in the middle of its cephalothorax.

Tarantulas are arachnids along with other spiders, but more specifically they belong to the family Theraphosidae. There are about 900 species of tarantulas inhabiting six continents (not the polar regions). These animals can be arboreal (living in trees), terrestrial (ground dwelling) or burrowing. Tarantulas can be as small as a fingernail or as large as a dinner plate. Generally tarantulas eat insects, but the biggest are able to eat small birds, mice and lizards. All spiders have venom – an aid in capturing prey – but tarantulas are not able to kill humans unless the person has an allergy to spider venom or is health-compromised. Every spider has eight legs and two body parts – a cephalothorax (head/thorax) and abdomen. Often a tarantula has a hairy body, but other types of spiders may have some body hairs. As with other spiders, tarantulas produce silk for webs of all sorts. Some make webs that look like tubes while other might use their silk to strengthen the walls of underground burrows. Although they do produce webs, tarantulas do not use their webs to capture lunch, but will ambush and tackle their prey.

So, be sure to check out our tarantula exhibit. You'll find these eight-legged beauties in the North American Reptile House.


Events free with zoo admission. Registration not required.


Join us as we "party for the planet." The zoo joins local organizations to help all of us learn how we can make every day Earth Day.
April 19, 1:00-4:00pm