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The Louisville Zoo has more than 1,500 animals in its collection representing 297 different species. We often have new animals that come to our Zoo from other locations as well as new babies born to our existing animals. Here are some interesting facts about some of the newest members to our beloved animal ambassadors.


Giant Louisville Zoo Snake Gives Virgin Birth in First Documented Case in this Species

(October 24, 2014)
The Louisville Zoo’s 11 year-old reticulate python affectionately called “Thelma” has given birth to six offspring without the benefit of a male snake. The 20 foot 200 lb. reticulate python has been housed at the Louisville Zoo for four years without a male. 

Shed skins from the mother and all six offspring as well as other biological material were sent to the University of Tulsa, in Oklahoma where it was determined through genetic testing and analysis that all six offspring were produced by the mother alone - without sperm from a male snake. This has never been documented before in the world’s largest snake. 

You can see mom in the HerpAquarium daily where she is on exhibit with another reticulate python.  These six offspring aren’t on exhibit just yet. Due to their size and exhibit space, the Zoo will likely share some of the offspring with other zoos within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Pygmy Hippo

(August 28, 2014)
The Louisville Zoo is celebrating the birth of Jahari, a male pygmy hippo born in the early hours of the morning on August 28, 2014. Jahari was born to Hope and Maji, the Zoo’s adult hippo pair. As of September 8, 2014, the baby weighed 16 lbs.  Both mom and baby are doing well. The hippo birth was planned and is a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). Breeding plans work to improve the genetic diversity of managed animal populations.


New Gorilla Group

(June 2014)
A new gorilla group will temporarily be joining the rotation in Gorilla Forest soon. We will be caring for a male silverback and two female gorillas from the Bronx Zoo until mid-March when they move to their new zoo home.

Click here to meet them.



Baby Meerkat

(February 2014)
Meet Barry — the first meerkat born at the Zoo since 1999. Barry was born to meerkat Penny on February 15 and joins the other five meerkats in their exhibit adjacent to the African Outpost. All of our meerkats are named after characters in the hit CBS television show The Big Bang Theory! (Photo courtesy of Beth Bohannon Baker)




Red-Breasted Goose

(Spring 2014)
Be sure to stop by the Steller’s Sea-eagle aviary at Glacier Run to see two beautiful red-breasted geese. One female and one male have joined the magpie, the mandarin ducks and the two Steller’s Sea-eagles to round out the species in this spectacular aviary. These beautiful geese are distinguished by the red on their chests. The aviary is open daily and is located between the Papa John’s Splash Park and the town at Glacier Run.




Snowy Owl Exhibit

(Spring 2014)
The much-anticipated snowy owl exhibit is now open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. The owls are continuing to acclimate to their new home. Acclimation began in mid-March with introduction of the birds to one another. We have two beautiful snowy owls, one female and one male.

The owls were introduced to their new exhibit space, and by early May, keepers began opening the exhibit doors slightly for about an hour a day to allow the birds to hear and see Zoo visitors. According to Gary Michael, Curator of Birds, the owls let us know each step of the way when they were ready to comfortably increase their exposure to the public. Click here to see all of our Glacier Run inhabitants.