What’s Up at the Red River Zoo?

Photo Credit: Instagram @tamartime

Of all the things to do with your family in Fargo, the Red River Zoo should top the list. You can spend hours visiting over 89 species, riding an antique carousel, and playing in the new interactive children’s exhibits.

Fargo’s zoo features both native and exotic animals found in similar climate conditions as the Red River Valley. They have some of the rarest cold climate species on earth, in fact, that’s their specialty!

This past week, the zoo was ecstatic to welcome three Alpacas. They partnered with Ten Seven Acres to create the exhibit. The Alpacas will be an amazing addition to the Children’s Zoo Farm and can be seen on exhibit daily.

You can visit unique species like Chinese Red Pandas, Pallas’ Cats, Sichuan Takin, and North American animals like deer, otters, fox, wolves, and prairie dogs, and tons of other fun animals including reptiles, birds, monkeys, fish, and farm animals. Let’s take a minute to learn about some of our favorite animals:

Meet the Animals

The Sichuan Takin

Two female and one male Sichuan Takin call the Red River Zoo home. Their exhibit is located along Takin Ridge behind the Carousel Pavilion.

Some people think they look like a cross between a moose and a wildebeest, while others think they look like a combination of a bear and a bison. Sometimes their roommates can be giant pandas. They are great climbers and strong legs let them live high up in the mountains.

They’re herbivores. They get plenty of energy from eating plants. Bamboo, grass, leaves, and buds are some of their favorites.

Sichuan Takin image captured by Red River Zoo

Grey Wolf

The Red River Zoo wolf pack has two adult wolves and 4 new wolf pups. Plus, the mother of the wolf pups was a member of our original wolf pack. Our Grey Wolves are in The Spirits of the Forest Grey Wolf Exhibit, which first opened in 2008.

They are related to the dog, so you can see the family resemblance. They have a grizzled coat with gray, black, and light brown fur.

They’re carnivores, so catching meat is how they survive. They usually prey on large, hoofed mammals called ungulates. They also like to eat deer, bison, elk, caribou, but will still prey on smaller animals like beavers and rabbits.

They used to live all over the northern hemisphere, but now can only be found in patches in North America, Europe, and northern Asia.

Grey Wolf image captured by Red River Zoo

Bactrian Camel

The Red River Zoo is home to a small herd of Bactrian Camels. In the summer of 2015, a new baby camel calf was born! Taivan, Tai for short, means “relaxed” in Mongolian. Zoo visitors helped chose his name by voting in our “name the camel” contest last summer.

They are mammals that resemble a horse. They have a large body with four legs and a long nose. On average, they weigh more than 1,800 pounds and are over seven feet tall at the hump.

They like to eat plants. Their usual meal consists of a mixture of shrubs, grass, thorns, and other dry vegetation.

They can be found in Northern Asia, specifically in the Gobi Desert. The Gobi Desert is extremely cold in the winter and very warm in the summer–just like Fargo!

Bactrian Camel image captured by Red River Zoo

Pallas’s Cat

The Zoo currently has 3 Pallas’s Cats that are part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP). Scientists and zoo professionals work together to help endangered and threatened species through cooperative breeding programs, research, education, fundraising, and reintroduction.

They are a mammal that is about the same size as a large house cat. They can be distinguished by their short broad head and low-set ears.

They are carnivores; this means they like to eat meat like gerbils, voles, picas, and partridges. But they are not fast runners, so they ambush or stalk prey.

The largest wild population lives in Mongolia in Asia. They live in dens, rock crevices, and burrows.

Pallas’ Cat image captured by Red River Zoo

Chinese Red Panda

The Red River Zoo is home to three Chinese Red Pandas. Mattie is the Ambassador Outreach panda that is sponsored by MATBUS. The Red River Zoo has made significant contributions to Red Panda conservation. More than 25% of Chinese Red Pandas found in Zoos across the country were born at the Red River Zoo!

Many people are surprised when they first see Chinese Red Pandas because they do not look like the Giant Pandas that people are more familiar with. They look more like a raccoon, or maybe a bear, but they’re in a family of their own.

They are omnivores. This means they eat a mixture of plants and other animals to receive energy.

In the wild, they would be found in the steep, forested, mountain slopes of the eastern Himalayas of India, Nepal, and Myanmar (Burma).

Chinese Red Panda photo captured by the Red River Zoo

Other Activities

Other than checking out all the lovely animals and their families, there are programs to get involved as well! All of the education options include:

  • Winter programs and classes
  • Summer 2021 programs
  • Educational Internships
  • Group Educational Experiences
  • Sleeping Bag safari
  • Student Research
  • Teacher Resources
  • Wildlife League
  • Zoology Internships
  • ZOOMobile Outreaches

Make sure to stop by the colored pencil fence, made up of over 1,000 large colored pencils, and enjoy your visit!