Meet our family of rescues!
Llamas & Alpaca
Our male llama, Twin, was named in honor of his birthday Sept 11, 2001. 3 Palms rescued Twin and his friend Cosmo, the Alpaca, from a local farm who could no longer provide the care they needed. Twin is a ham! He’s a 500 lb gentle giant who smiles for cameras and loves to give kisses. Twin shares his residence with Baby, our female llama. Baby came to us from Pennsylvania after the loss of her mother in order to enjoy a life with other llamas. Baby was born Jan 29, 2007 in the same facility and day that Barbaro was euthanized. She was named & registered as “Barbie” in his honor. Very recently after 11 1/2 long months, Twin & Baby are the proud parents of a beautfiul little girl. Tatiana was born Oct 5, 2012 right here at 3 Palms! Adorable and curious to a fault, Tatiana already seems to enjoy the company of visitors. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by these statuesque creatures. They will also bid you farewall upon your departure. Contrary to public opinion, domestic llamas usually do not spit at people.
African Pygmy Goats
Pygmy Castle is the grand attraction for kids young & old. Everyone enjoys joining the goats for a climb to the top of the castle! The top platform is a great escape and provides the best overview of the zoo. The castle also doubles as a second, weather-proofing level to their shelter.
Pygmy Goats originated on the continent of Africa. All current pygmy goats in the United States descend from an original few that were imported for zoos into the U.S. in the 1950s. Our herd of ornery Billy’s are from eldest: Jack, Casper, JJ, & lil Romeo! Jack & Casper have been best friends from the day they met. Jack, boasting a beautiful black coat & a full set of horns dominates the herd. Many folks ask about Casper’s horns. What’s left are scurs originating from a botched debudding. What he lacks in horns he makes up in beauty with his regal white silky coat and long flowing beard. JJ, maybe the friendliest of the three big ones, is very affectionate of people. He was an indoor pet for his previous owner who unfortunately could not relocate with him. He came here for sancutary and his parents visit often! The cutest of them all is Romeo, aka “Lil’ Billy!”. We were fortunate to be able to save his life when we rescued he & his sister who were badly infested with coccidia. Romeo is child size & a child’s favorite; he’s a star during traveling events!
When you stop by the zoo, don’t forget quarters! Coin feeders are a great way to generate income for animal feed while providing enrichment and entertainment to our guests and animals. The cracked corn feeder is a visitor favorite! Facinated with the chickens reaction to the feed, children & adults spend a lot of time feeding & socializing with them. As you see Ingrid knows what goodies reside inside!
We have many exotic breeds like the feather-footed Asian Brahmas & the naked-necked Turkens from Transylvania. Some of the many other breeds you’ll interact with include; Rhode Island red, Easter eggers, gold laced wyandotte, black sex links, speckled sussex, & rumpless araucanas! No doubt you’ll encounter Grumpy when you visit. Grumpy is a beautiful “mutt” with a very unique personality! He spends most of his days in front of the Sumatra enclosure harassing Batman, the Sumatra cockerel.
Perhaps the most entertaining chickens are the game fowl. Statuesque in nature, these fine specimans were once known as a symbol of cock fighting. If you’ve ever vacationed in Key West or Hawaii, you’ve no doubt seen these feral game fowl. Their fearless and curious nature makes them one of the more social & interactive birds here at the 3 Palms. As you navigate the zoo, you may feel as if you have an extra shadow; while the game fowl follow you around hoping for a handful of cracked corn.
Vietnamese Pot-Bellied Pigs
What can we say about Albert, our male pot-bellied pig? At an auction one evening, with the intention of buying hay, we discovered this little piglet. He was jammed in an apple crate and being poked & teased by kids. Our heart went out to the little guy, and $11 later he was riding home on our back seat. He’s grown up to be quite the intelligent loving boar, looking forward to his daily treats & belly rubs. Seeming lonely, outside at night by himself, we began to search for a female companion in need of rescue. Enter Lucy… Lucy was a teenager’s abandoned 4-H project, turned into mother’s expense. Circumstances did not allow for Lucy to remain with her family, so we welcomed her into our family. Albert & Lucy hit it off immediately!
Our friendly and interactive mini-pig pen is a 3 Palms visitor favorite! Moo, Pork, & Toby, the newest addition to the family, are especially fond of kisses & treats. Moo, a full-grown female Juliana Pig, is the perfect example of what those “Tea-Cup Pigs” look like following adolescence. Pork is the perfect picture of a “Miniature Pot-Bellied Pig”. Toby, admittedly the smallest, still weighs in at 45 lbs for a “Micro-Mini Pig”, keeping in mind boys weigh less than girls. We often have items, such as pumpkins, squash, & melons, available just for feeding the pigs. Before you think that cute little “Mini-Piglet” is a good house pet, pay us a visit!
We might not be here if it weren’t for a couple of domestic ducks. Daphne is a Peking Duck, who is now 9 years old & still resides at the zoo, was the first official resident. Perhaps a fan-favorite are the Crested ducks, named in honor of the Princesses of York. Once you see the little cottonball puff that looks like a bad hair day, you’ll understand why they’re called “Crested”. The newest duck, a rouen drake, was rescued from a retention pond after being irresponsibly dumped. These friendly creatures love eating cracked corn right from your hand. Conveniently the corn feeder is located nearby.
North American Raccoon
Labor Day Weekend 2013 we received a call about an orphaned raccoon kit who had been heavily imprinted by human feeding. Being a holiday and a weekend, there were no state agencies open to assist. We knew the raccoon wouldn’t survive without the proper care & food, so we provided this during the interim. Tuesday morning we worked with the Delaware Department of Fish & Wildlife to determine the best course of action for this little girl. It was a unanimous decision that releasing her into the wild was not an option; she would be a danger to herself and to humans. Our outstanding record with the department allowed us this once in a lifetime opportunity to raise and care for this unique wild animal. Fish & Wildlife granted us the proper permit to house Rosie responsibly for educational purposes only. Rosie, as we’ve come to know her, now resides quite happily in her luxurious habitat! She loves washing anything she gets her “people hands” on!
NOTE: Although cute & curious, Rosie is a WILD ANIMAL! Absolutely no touching or handling will be permitted.
Turkey Vultures play an important role in the ecosystem by disposing of carrion which could otherwise be a breeding ground for disease. In the U.S. Vulture species receive special legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. It is illegal to take, kill, or possess turkey vultures, and violation of the law is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and imprisonment of up to six months. So, why would someone shoot one???
Lurch was sent to us from Shore Wildlife Rehab after his rehabilitation from a shooting injury. In his x-ray you can see metal bird shot permanently lodged in his wing (indicated by the bright dots), and an improperly healed broken bone. Unfortunately, the person who shot him prevented Lurch from ever soaring free again. Though grounded, Lurch has a wonderful quality of life in a secure habitat and we are very fortunate to be able to provide this! He is a wonderful, education, & exhibit animal and serves as an ambassador for his species.
Life for Lurch has changed in a BIG way a few months after his arrival. We welcomed Claude!. Claude is a young Vulture who was also found shot and grounded in Virginia. After spending some time with a rehabilitator who mended his injuries, he was sent to our friends at Shore Wildlife Rehab for flight conditioning. Upon arrival there it was obvious he would never fly again! Still, he was granted time to take to the sky, unfortunately he never did. Shore Wildlife Rehab then reached out to us for permanent housing. Remember Lurch, had initially be rehabilitated and placed here by Shore Wildlife Rehab; they knew he needed a friend. We introduced Claude and the bond was nearly instant!
Morticia the Turkey Vulture came to us all the way from Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter in Oak Island, North Carolina. She was found injured, flightless, and weak by a good Samaritan who brought her to Sea Biscuit. After several months in rehab, Morticia healed and regained strength, but it was obvious she would never fly again. So the folks at Sea Biscuit began to look for placement options. Vultures are gregarious birds and prefer the company of others. It was in her best interest to be placed with other Vultures. We were more than happy to give Morticia a home within our wake of Vultures. She immediately joined the boys, and while not flying free, she now has a wonderful quality of life and good company!
Southeast Asia Aviarys
These naturalistic, heavily planted aviarys, house some of the world’s most beautiful species of exotic birds. Himalayan & Monal Pheasants are among the rarest and most beautiful galliformes in the world! Our aviary houses three exotic species: a Lady Amherst Pheasant, Chinese Golden Pheasants, and Silver Pheasants.
Our Indian Pied Peacock takes the show in our Southeast Aviary. During the peafowl breeding season, our peacock will dazzle you with his 5′ colorful train. Make sure to look for the two Pied Peahens that call the aviary home. You’ll also see a white peahen, and Pete the infamous Brookhaven Peacock!
At first glance, one could easily mistake this rare exotic fowl for an ordinary chicken. The Burmese Red Junglefowl is the genealogical predecessor of all domestic breeds of chicken. First described by Darwin, this bird is now on the verge of extinction due to loss of habitat and diluted pure genetics due to feral domestic chickens.
The Black Sumatra is a rare species of exotic fowl, native to the islands of Sumatra & Burma in Souteast Indonesia. They are very unusual in having a multiple, or cluster, of spurs. Sumatra genetics were used in the domestication process creating black skinned chickens. Our Sumatra cockerel was rescued from a farm where most of his descendants were killed by feral dogs. The pair can be found opposite the South East Asia Aviary. Be sure to listen to his long, LOUD, deafining crow!
Other exotic avian species you will see in and amongst the Asian collection are Mandarin ducks and Indian Peacock Pigeons. Mandarin ducks are perhaps the most colorful of all wild waterfowl. Our 6-year old pair can be seen in the Southeast Asia Aviary. Look for them in the pond or the nearby nesting box designed especially for tree ducks!
Everyone knows what sheep are, but our sheep are a little bit different. Rosie & Reggie are Katahdin Hair Sheep, an exotic breed which are generally raised for meat. Their fleece is quite different as well and never requires shearing. Each spring, children enjoy collecting wool as it naturally releases from Reggie’s back. Born feral in a field, they were completely wild at the time of their arrival at 3 Palms. Several weeks of training with the Pygmy Goats seemed to bring them around in no time. Cedar is the newest addition to our flock of sheep. Being a Romney Ewe, Cedar more closely resembles the sheep that provide the wool for those famous Ugly Christmas Sweaters!
Coastal North America
Most folks are totally unaware that North America boasts some of the most exotic & colorful species of migratory waterfowl in the world. We are proud to exhibit 6 of these elusive species. Our 4 species of ducks, which include; Carolina Wood Ducks, Northern Pintails, Mallard Ducks & Northern Shovelers, can all be seen in our home state of Delaware at some point throughout the year.
Commonly referred to as “Baby Canadians”, the rare & endangered Aleutian Cackling Goose is only native to a few remote Alaskan Islands. Though coloration may resemble the Canada Goose, Cackling Geese are a very unique species. Once critically endangered, population numbered only 50 birds in the wild until preservation efforts began. Cacklers are also one of the smallest species of goose in the world! During your visit you’ll discover how they get their name!
Perhaps the most familiar residents in the Coastal Habitat are the Laughing Gulls. These comical birds are the most iconic symbols of Summer at the Delaware beaches.Keep your ears open for their easily recognizable laugh.
Lastly, keep your eyes peeled for a Ringneck Pheasant and a Snow Goose both familiar residents of the coast.
Miniature Sicilian Donkey
Dominick was born at Bohemia Mill Stables in Maryland, just outside of Middletown. Due to his rather large size and slightly crooked foot, the farm had to make a decision. Given the expense of gelding & feed, re-homing was much more feasible. We picked Dominick up a week before Christmas. Tis’ the Season & given his Italian heritage, his name was obvious. Dominick is a sweet boy who loves to smile. He loves having his head rubbed and chowing down on some bamaboo. If you really want to win him over, bring him a carrot!
NOTE: Donkeys have teeth. Please do not feed your fingers to Dominick!
Domestic & Canada Geese
Wherever you go, geese may follow. Phillip, an African Gander, is the leader & the unofficial 3 Palms mascot. Over the past few years, every visitor has fallen in love with Phillip. Sweet & curious, he will even climb on your lap. Gertie, a Domestic Emden Goose, was placed in our care by Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research after her entaglement in a fishing line & hook! Gentle by nature, Gertie’s hissing is only a self-defense mechanism; she will not bite or attack! Our newest loud mouth is Delta, an African Goose just like Phillip. Delta was dumped in a neighborhood & suffers from a condition known as “Angel Wing”. This irreversible wing deformity is caused by a nutritional imbalance at an early age. Don’t tell Phillip I told you, but I think he likes her! Gus, Goosie, Nola, Ethel, Lucy, Penny, Agnes, Canterbury, and Alfie. also call the the Zoo home and can’t wait to greet you!
Cracked corn is good for the chickens, but our ducks & geese enjoy Mazuri Brand Waterfowl food formulated just for them & availalbe to you in our Duck & Goose Feeder, another visitor favorite. Located near our North America Habitat, this food is safe even for the youngest Waterfowl. Unlike too much corn, these pellets do not cause the condition you just learned about, “Angel Wing”. Don’t forget quarters; coin feeders are a great way to generate income for animal feed while providing enrichment and entertainment to our guests and animals. Just like the chickens, folks are facinated by the reaction the geese have to the feed. Children & adults spend a lot of time feeding & socializing with them; learning how each goose has its own individual personality.
Canada Geese (Canadian refers to people), are perhaps the most well-known species of waterfowl native to North America. The sweet, curious, and docile nature of these magestic creatures makes them our personal favorite. Fourteen Canada Geese call 3 Palms home. Three sub-species roam the grounds, the Giant (or Maxima) strain, lesser strain, and the common Atlantic. Terrance, our largest gander, and Mister are of the Maxima strain. Bernard, Bianca, Woody, Oliver, Anna, Angel, Happy Feet, Vivian, Buttercup, and “the Twins” are all Atlantic sub-species. Cassie (our senior resident goose) is our only lesser subspecies.
Eastern Wild Turkeys
The Eastern Wild Turkey is native to North America and is the largest of the Galliformes. Benjamin Franklin proposed the wild turkey as a National symbol to the Continental Congress, however the Bald Eagle was ultimately chosen to be the National symbol. Several years later, turkeys became popular game birds and were hunted to near extinction. Recent preservation efforts have brought the population to near stable levels in much of the United States. You’ll most likely hear Bear, our resident Tom, the moment you step foot out of your vehicle. A child’s favorite, he & his sweetheart Crazy, are to be viewed as wild animals. Bear is truly a remarkable animal if you’ve never seen a Tom Turkey up close. Their beauty, size, & facial waddles are as intriguing as the iridescent earth tones in their artistic feathers. Be sure to gobble at him so you can hear his response. Fun fact: A Tom’s snood (the appendage that hangs above his beak) & bright blue facial color are controlled by his blood pressure.
Commonly assumed an ostrich (and sometimes a llama), Emu are an entirely different species of the mysterious Ratite family. Descending from Austrailia, Emu are the second largest bird in the world & have achieved speeds up to 35 mph. Elle was hatched & raised at the Plumpton Park Zoo in Maryland. When the zoo was closed, Elle went to live with a nice lady on the board until a permanent home could be found for her. Elle arrived at 3 Palms Petting Zoo the night before Hurricane Irene. Some folks still remember Elle as “Elvin”. Assumed a male, we learned as Elle matured, that he was actually a she. During the Emu breeding season (throughout our fall months), you will hear her distinct drumming sound (an Emu’s female breeding call).
Tick-Tock is Delaware’s only American Alligator & the grand attraction at the Zoo! She resides in a luxurious, natural, climatized habitat complete with a spacious pond, lush tropical plantings, and even a lawn for lounging! Spanish moss and air plants filter the air while adding oxygen. Fish, crayfish, frogs, and tadpoles complete the habitats living ecosystem. April through October, Tick-Tock can be viewed in an open air setting from the habitat’s exterior. During the cooler months, November through March, the entire habitat is covered and climatized. Winter viewing is carried out from the habitats interior via the observation deck.
*** Do not cross or reach over yellow chain surrounding habitat! ***
Things were not always this good for Tick-Tock. She had been kept illegally and inhumanly as a “pet” for roughly three years. Fortunately, she ended up with a Delaware State licensed rehabilitator who entrusted her with us. Alligators are NOT pets and should NEVER be treated as such, they are very dangerous WILD animals! They are illegal as pets in Delaware, and there are NO permits available for ANY individual. They have very complicated and demanding needs which are not available under illegal care. Bites incurred from alligators are dangerous due to bacteria, most of which are resistant to antibiotics.
Cadbury’s arrival at 3 Palms was a recent one, which just so happened to coincide with Easter 2014. He’s a Palomino Rabbit, one of the larger breeds of domestic rabbit. Palominos are known for their silky golden coat & friendly disposition. Cadbury loves to have his head & hears pet & rubbed. He’s come to look forward to Zoo visitors & really enjoys when folks bring him carrots! Salt & Pepper are the Zoo’s dutch bunnys. These sweet brothers were dumped at a construction site, fortunatly for them a volunteer brought them to us. They quickly fit right in and love visitor attention!
Of all the animals here, kids seem to love our Guinea Pigs most of all! Sweet & gentle, Guinea Pigs’ personalities fit a child’s perfectly. Speedy is the senior boy and by far the friendliest. If you happen to bring carrots, these guys also enjoy the special treat. Guinea Pigs are small, sensitive, and quick. Petting will only be permitted with assistance; please do not push, squeeze, or try to pick up the Guinea Pigs.
*** Guinea Pigs only on display April – October ***
This lush and humid habitat is the tropical home of:
Polly the Military Macaw
African Mud Turtle
African Helmeted Turtle
Green Tree Frog
Fire Bellied Toads
Florida Red-bellied Cooter
Turtles & Tortoises
At 3 Palms, Turtles are one of our passions! We exhibit 41 Turtles representing 19 different species, many of which are Delaware natives. Our native species have all been the subject of illegal or out of state collection and do not meet criteria for release back into the wild.
Our turtle habitats embody the specific needs for each individual species. While visiting the Zoo, be sure to look for the following Turtle Habitats, all easily identifiable with a red fence and a yellow chain:
Woodland Bog – Semi-aquatic Turtles such as the Spotted Turtle and Eastern Mud Turtle call the Woodland Bog home. Keeping Delaware in mind, this habitat is a representation of a peat bog forest that is complete with native carnivorous plants, sedges, ferns, and mosses, decaying logs, and a shallow pond. A felled tree was even added to allow for climbing, something Spotted Turtles love to do!
Box Turtle Stream – Eastern Box Turtles and an Ornate Box Turtle reside in the Box Turtle Stream. This habitat is a recreation of a natural dry/seasonal woodland stream bed typically found in the Eastern U.S. Ammenities of the habitat include: a pond, lush plantings, moss, felled logs, and a bridge for visitor viewing!
Red Eared Slider Pond – Red Eared Sliders are the most popular pet turtle in the U.S. Our 12 Red Eared Sliders are all owner surrenders that outgrew what their original owners were able to provide. They now reside in a large fenced 300 gallon pond. This habitat is complete with: floating water lettuce, bamboo, moss, and a submerged log for basking. Our Sliders remain outdoors and safely hibernate during the Winter months!
Three-Toed Box Turtle Habitat – Under the oak canopy, felled logs, stumps, rocks, grasses, moss, and a shallow pond recreate the terrain of East Texas and Arkansas, home of the Three-Toed Box Turtle. A miniature cave completes the theme, and creates a perfect place for hiding and sleeping!
Painted Turtle Pond – Three Painted Turtles reside in this 125 gallon pond habitat. Mosses, felled logs, floating water lettuce, bamboo, and a submerged stump for basking. Our Painted Turtles remain outdoors and safely hibernate during the WInter months!
The following turtle and tortoise species can be found in the above habitats and in other mixed habitats throughout the Zoo:
Ornate Box Turtle
Three-Toed Box Turtle
Gulf Coast Box Turtle
Eastern Mud Turtle
African Side-neck Turtles
Virginia Opossums are the only Marsupial native to North America. Opossums have 50 teeth, more teeth then any other mammal, but rarely use them in self defense. Opossums natural defense mechanism is to faint or “play possum”. This defense, armed with a putrid odor, is enough to deter a potential predator. Slow, dosile, and timid by nature, opossums have one of the lowest internal mamallian body temperatures, rendering them immune to the rabies virus. Wild opossums survive on a diet the consits of mainly road kill, carrion, & insects. All to often opossums fall victim to the same fate as the dinner they scavange off of the roadside. In the wild, opossums live an average of only one year. Even in captivity, opossums seldomly live longer then 5 years. This is due to a rapid senescence, also known as progressive aging.
The Fox Fortress is home to Shylo the Silver Fox & Princess Peterkins the Red Fox. This large scale, habitat is quite impressive! Eight foot fencing surrounds a luxourious woodland complete with trees, stumps, ferns, and natural leaf litter. Fallen trees and logs mimmic a natural setting and create a perfect environment for a Fox. A cozy blue house with an indoor & outdoor area make for the perfect sleeping quarters and allow for a rainy escape. Shylo is active during the days and can be seen playing about in his habitat, he perfers to keep a diurnal human schedule.
We rescued Shylo the Silver Fox from a rehab in Virginia where he had been surrendered as a LEGAL pet. Bought through all legal chanels for a young girl, Shylo quickly turned out NOT to be a good “pet”. Foxes are NOT pets, and should NEVER be treated as such, regardless of what a “breeder” will tell you. Foxes are illegal as pets in Delaware and there are NO permits available to ANY individual. 3 Palms maintains all permits & licencing; and are one of only two facilities accredited to do so in Delaware.
Shylo is also the state’s first and only Silver Fox!
NOTE: While cute and curious Shylo is a wild animal. Absolutely no feeding or petting will be permitted.
Reptiles & Amphibians
Green Tree Frog
Fire Bellied Toads