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Ball Python (Python regius)

Ball pythons are native to Africa, and prey on a variety of small rodents. They get the name from their habit of curling into balls when threatened or disturbed.

Snoodles is leucistic, meaning that she lacks any pigment in her skin.



Cool Facts

  1. Ball pythons are relatively low maintenance, making them popular choices in the pet trade. However, they still require specialized environments and need dedicated care.
  2. They typically live around 30 years, but have be known to live up to 60 in captivity!
  3. Thousands of ball pythons are still captured from the wild each year to support the pet trade. This practice may threaten wild populations in the future.

Aussie, Cooper, Milo, & Noodles

Sugar Gliders / Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

The sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps) is a small, omnivorous, arboreal gliding possum belonging to the marsupial infraclass. Sugar gliders are named for their preference for sugary nectarous foods and ability to glide through the air, much like a flying squirrel.

Although they have a preference for sweet foods, most of their diet consists of insects. Sugar gliders almost never leave the trees for their entire lives – they can glide up to 50m, which is twice the length of a typical swimming pool!

You can meet one of our sugar gliders by booking one of our animal packages! Ask our staff about gliding demonstration availability. Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. Sugar gliders are marsupials; the young are born very immature and grow in a pouch on the mother’s abdomen.
  2. Sugar gliders are very social and need and crave lots of companionship.
  3. The sugar gliders body is about 5-6 inches long, and the tail adds another 6 inches. They weigh only 4-5.5 oz (100-160 grams).


Sugar Gliders



Velociraptors were smaller sized predatory dinosaurs from the Cretaceous period. Typically expected to be vicious and strong, Blue here can be feisty but has been taking to her training well and responds nicely (most of the time) to her handlers. We think she’s ready to meet the world! So Hands on Exotics has curated a unique experience for you to have a chance to meet a dinosaur in real life!

Learn about these creatures that have fascinated the public along and our amazing natural history. Meet 2 dinosaurs and 6 other animals in this amazing opportunity; please contact our office for more details!

Cool Facts

  1. They are thought to hunt prey similarly to the raptors of the present day by pouncing on them and grabbing them with their sharp claws and weighing them down.
  2. Velociraptors have a distinctive second digit/’finger’ that had a long curved claw thought to be used for slashing at their prey as well.
  3. It’s area of distribution was around where present day Monogolia is now!

Morticia Hytes

Virginia Opossum/North American Opossum (Didelphis virginiana)

Virginia opossums also referred to as ‘possums’ are quite widespread through North America and Central America. They are marsupials meaning they carry their litter of babies in a pouch just like kangaroos!

Morticia Hytes can be added on to any animal package for an additional $25. Ask our office about availability!


Cool Facts

  1. Opossums are a huge help to humans in preventing Lyme Disease by eating up to 4000 ticks in a week.
  2. They have unusually short lifespans of approximately 2 years in the wild.
  3. Opossums also have opposable thumbs and a prehensile tail!
Morticia Hytes


Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)

Talk about a bird that can capture your attention!

Stryker is a gorgeous Golden eagle who well-mannered and loves the camera as you can see from the pictures below. One of the larger raptors in the world and one of the most well known, Golden eagles have a wing span of over 2 metres on average. There are multiple subspecies of this eagle that live in alpine areas of North America as well as Eurasia. Like all other raptors, they have strong talons that they hunt with which are impressive to see up close!

Stryker is booked separately from our other animals. Please contact us for pricing and information!

Cool Facts

  1. Like many other raptors, the females of the species are typically larger than the males.
  2. There are six different known Golden eagle subspecies.
  3. While hunting, a golden eagle can dive to catch prey with speeds up to 300 km/h!





Catalina macaw (Ara ararauna × Ara macao)

Catalina macaws are a hybrid between the blue and gold macaw and the scarlet macaw.

Phelin is one of our many rescue parrots that call Hands on Exotics home now. He came to us as his previous owner was having trouble with his temperament. We found that Phelin to be extremely territorial when it comes to his home, but extremely affectionate and attention seeking when out of his home. This makes him PERFECT for our outreach programs where he loves to show off his feathers by spreading out his wings for a marvelous photo opportunity!

You can meet Phelin by booking one of our animal packages! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages


Cool Facts

  1. Due to the difficulty of parrots as pets and a lack of education in regards to their care, parrots are one of the number one most re-homed pets in North America.
  2. Parrots exhibit a wide range of personalities as they are extremely intelligent animals.
  3. Catalina macaws are also known as rainbow macaws!





Domestic Rabbits / Belgium (Origin)

We have many rabbits at Hands on Exotics, ranging in size from our 2 pound dwarf rabbits to our 15 lb giant Flemish rabbit.

Most of our rabbits are ex-pets, but some are retired show rabbits. Rabbits can make good pets, but require lots of supervised exercise time, and can live for 8-15 years. As their lifespan is often longer than people expect, many rabbits end up in shelters at the age of 2-3. If after research you decide that a rabbit is a good pet for you, consider adopting a rabbit that needs a home instead of purchasing one from a pet store.

You can meet one of our bunnies by booking one of our animal packages! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages
For any bunny fanatics click here: Furry Friends Package

 Cool Facts

  1. Although rabbits enjoy carrots as treats, they have a lot of sugar and should only be fed occasionally.
  2. Their diet consists of mostly different types of grasses. As grass is hard to digest, rabbits often eat their own poo to digest it for a second time!
  3. Rabbits have teeth that never stop growing. If they aren’t provided with things to chew on, their teeth often grow too long and need to be trimmed by a veterinarian.


Goliath, Munch, and Quincy

African Spurred Tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata) | North / Central Africa | Vulnerable (IUCN)


African spurred tortoises get their name from the “spurs” on their legs. Living in desert and grassland habitats, their sandy colouration helps them to camouflage.

Goliath, Munch, and Quincy are all ex-pets. These guys are extremely difficult to take care of – they need a lot of space to roam around in and can live to 100 years old!!

You can meet one of our Sulcata Tortoises by booking one of our animal packages! View all the different options by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. Although they eat mainly grasses, they can grow to massive sizes of over 100 lbs!!
  2. Spurred tortoise populations are rapidly declining due to habitat loss resulting from urbanization, livestock grazing, and climate change.
  3. They are also captured for the pet trade and for traditional medicines. This practice is of great concern as it takes 15 years for them to reach maturity, making population renewal a slow process.


Goliath, Munch, and Quincy

Pepe, Flower, and Thumper

Skunks / North America

Striped skunks are found throughout North America, and are easily identified by their bold stripe on their back. This stripe is a warning to other animals to stay away or get sprayed!

Skunks have non-retractable claws that they use to dig. They love to dig up the ground looking for one of their favorite treats – a tasty grub or bug! They will give several warnings to predators before spraying; including raising their tails and stomping their feet. The spotted skunk from South America will even do a hand-stand to ward away predators!

You can meet one of our skunks by booking one of our animal packages! Take a look by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. One of their only predators in the great-horned owl, due to their very limited sense of smell.
  2. Skunks will cuddle in groups of up to 20 skunks to keep warm in the winter.
  3. The powerful odor from their spray can be easily removed with a simple mix of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap.

Pepe, Flower, and Thumper


Chinchilla / Andes Mountains

Chinchillas are best known for their use in expensive fur coats, however we like to think of them as the cutest and fluffiest members of the rodent family.

Mochi, our chinchilla, was adopted from a private home in Oshawa. These are difficult animals to keep as pets – they can live well over 10 years, with the oldest chinchilla on record living to almost 30! They are also very active, capable of jumping from the ground up on top of your refrigerator!

You can meet one of our chinchillas by booking one of our animal packages! View all the different options by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. They an jump up to 6 ft high.
  2. They take dust baths to keep moisture out of their coats, essential to keeping it soft and lovely.
  3. They are critically endangered due to the fur trade.


King Tut & Cairo

Savannah Cat | Genetics trace to the African Savannah

These gorgeous cats have roots that trace to the African serval, a medium sized spotted cat found in the African Savannah.

King Tut is very intelligent and food motivated – he loves engaging with his trainers and learning new behaviours! Cairo is quickly learning to catch up to his older brother, at least when he’s not busy begging for cuddles. These cats can also be extremely vocal and quite mischievous, making them a challenging pet to have at home.

Their large ears give them a heightened sense of hearing. They are also quite the hunter – they love to stalk feathered wand toys and will leap high into the air to catch them!

You can meet King Tut or Cairo by booking the Lion Tamer package! Find out more by clicking here: Lion Tamer

Cool Facts

  1. Their spots are a form of camouflage, allowing them to sneak undetected through the Savannah.
  2. Savannah Cats have very large ears and long legs which are used for hunting.
  3. King Tut is extremely affectionate and loves to visit seniors at our pet therapy visits!
King Tut & Cairo


Green Iguana (blue morph) (Iguana iguana)| Central & South America, Caribbean

  These prehistoric looking lizards were once very popular as pets. They however are quite a handful – growing to sizes of 2 meters (6 feet) from head to tail, and weighing up to 20lbs! Their spatial requirements and the need to provide sufficient heat, humidity, and UV lighting make them challenging to care for.

Iguanas are typically found up high in trees – their super sharp claws allow them to be excellent climbers!


For the chance to meet Maui, book one of our animal packages! Take a look at the different options by clicking here: Animal Packages


Cool Facts

  1. They eat a mainly herbivorous diet, with leafy greens being among their absolute favorites!
  2. Iguanas are good swimmers, using their long tails for propulsion.
  3. Iguanas have a special organ on the top of their heads called the parietal eye that can detect shadows, such as those created by a hungry hawk soaring above!





White’s Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea)| Australia and New Guinea

The White’s Tree Frog or Dumpy Frog is a fairly large frog species, reaching up to 11.5cm! They flick their tongues out to catch insects but if they come across a larger snack they will use their hands to help shove food into their mouths.


Meet Frogbert and his friends by booking one of our animal packages. For more information click here: Animal Packages


Cool Facts

  1. They will try to eat a variety of things including insects, other frogs and even mammals
  2. They gain weight easily in captivity, hence the name “dumpy”
  3. They are not very scared of humans and can be found living in your gutter, on your windowsill, or even in your toilet!


Ball Python

(Python regius)| sub-Saharan Africa

IUCN Status: Least Concern

These snakes are also known as Royal Pythons as it is rumored that African royalty used to wear them like jewelry around their head and neck. Ball Pythons are among the smallest pythons in the world; making them a popular choice to have at home.

Their diet is mostly made up of small rodents, which they hunt for with the heat pits that run along the front of their face. These heat pits are so sensitive that they can detect changes in temperature of 3/1000th of a degree!

Meet one of our ball pythons by booking one of our animal packages. Click here for more info: Animal Packages


Cool Facts

  1. All pythons are non-venomous
  2. There are more than 5000 different colours and patterns seen in ball pythons, these are specially bred for and are called morphs
  3. Ball Pythons roll up into a ball when frightened, tucking their head and neck into the middle of the ball
Ball Python


Blue-fronted Amazon Parrot (Amazona aestiva)| South America

They get their name from the spot of blue they have around their beak.

Gypsy came to Hands on Exotics in 2016 as an ex-pet. She is very playful and loves to learn new words and songs. Gypsy even knows how to sing Happy Birthday and cheer for her favourite hockey team (The Maple Leafs of course). She has also become very attached to Poncho, one of our Yellow-headed Amazons since her arrival.


Gypsy can be added on to any animal package for an additional $25. Ask our office about availability!


Cool Facts

  1. These birds are very popular to have as pets despite the hard work that goes into them. The majority of pet parrots end up in multiple homes before they reach old age
  2. Blue-fronted Amazons are endangered in the wild due to habitat loss and poaching for the pet trade.
  3. To humans, male and females look the same but to other parrots, the genders differ in colour (parrots see in more colours than we do!)



Irish Wolfhound | Ireland

Irish Wolfhounds were bred in ancient Ireland as a means to hunt and scare away wolves .

Luna was born in the beginning of 2017 , but is already wowing people with her formidable size! She visits seniors and individuals with special needs on a regular basis as a part of our animal therapy program.

Luna is very loving and affectionate.

You can meet Luna by booking the Wolf Tamer package! Find out more by clicking here: Wolf Tamer Package


Cool Facts

  1. The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest dog breed in the world, able to reach 7 feet tall when up on their hind legs!
  2. There are records of Irish Wolfhounds dating all the way back to 273 BC
  3. They grow to well over 100 lbs!



African Pied Crow (Corvus albus)| Sub-saharan Africa

Crows are extremely intelligent birds and can learn to recognize different humans.

Lucy has a big personality and doesn’t like to sit still for long! She loves to explore and find out where you’ve hidden all your snacks. Some crows have even been known to build tools in order to get to the tastiest of treats!


Lucy can be added on to any animal package for an additional $25. Ask our office about availability!


Cool Facts

  1. Crows will hold funerals for each other
  2. Their eggs are pale green with brown spots
  3. The Pied Crow is the most widespread kind of Corvid


Cave Spider (order Amblypygi) / Tropical and Subtropical

Also known as tail-less whip scorpions, these fascinating arachnids are related to both spiders and scorpions.

Although their thorny pedipalps may be intimidating, these guys lack venom and are completely harmless to humans. They are nocturnal predators, mainly hunting small insects. Their elongated pair of legs act as feelers to help them find their way around dark caves.

You can meet our cave spider by booking one of our animal packages! View all the different options by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. Cave spiders do not spin webs!
  2. They have sticky feet and will hang out on the walls or even ceilings of caves.
  3. Cave spiders were featured in the film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Cave Spiders


Chinese Water Dragon (Physignathus cocincinus)| China and Southeast Asia

  Found living along riverbeds in the forests of China, these gorgeous, bright green lizards can grow to sizes of 1 meter long!

Valentina has a small kink in her tail that was seen as undesirable. We love her just the same and think that her tail makes her special!


You can meet Valentina by booking one of our animal packages! Take a look at the different options by clicking here: Animal Packages


Cool Facts

  1. They have a spot between their eyes called the “pineal eye” that is sensitive to light, aiding them in finding suitable basking spots.
  2. Often found near water but can also live in trees.
  3. When threatened, they dive into water and can remain submerged for 25 minutes!!




Naomi & Tyra

Bengal Cat | Genetics trace to the Asian Leopard Cat

Bengal cats look just like miniature leopards! They are very intelligent and can be trained to display many behaviours. 

We got Naomi and Tyra in May 2017, and these sisters have since won over the hearts of all of our staff with their different personalities! Naomi loves to prance about on her leash outside, chase her tail, and pounce on toys. Tyra is more reserved, but acts with quiet curiosity unless you get her really going with a cat wand.

Naomi or Tyra can be added on to any animal package for an additional $50. Ask our office about availability!



Cool Facts

  1. Bengals are low-allergen. Many people with cat allergies are not affected by Bengals.
  2. Bengals are very mischievous and can get into a lot of trouble! They are often too much of a handful for the typical pet owner.
  3. The Bengal breed originated as a hybrid of the Asian Leopard Cat and the domestic cat. It’s these wild genes that give them their spunk and distinctive pattern.



Naomi & Tyra


Sulfur Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)| Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia | Least Concern (IUCN)

214076-40Sulfur crested cockatoos are very intelligent birds, making them very demanding as a pet.

Sampson was born in 1995, and came to Hands on Exotics in 2014 as an ex-pet. He is a big show-off and knows many tricks including showing off his wings, flying, dancing, and playing dead. He loves to talk and tells us goodnight when we turn the lights off at the end of the day.



You can meet Sampson by booking one of our animal packages! Take a look at the different options by clicking here: Animal Packages


Cool Facts

  1. They are very long lived and can live over 70 years in captivity! For this reason most pet cockatoos don’t stay in the same home for their entire lives.
  2. Although they naturally live in forested areas, they have adapted well to urban environments – even becoming a pest in some areas.
  3. They often forage for seeds, grains, and fruits in large groups. Typically one cockatoo will keep watch for predators by perching high up in a tree, keeping the rest of the group safe.


Pied Imperial Pigeon (Ducula bicolor) | Southeast Asia | Least Concern (IUCN)


Named after their beautiful dual colouration, the pied pigeon is found in coastal island forests in New Guinea and Thailand.

Dinozzo is a bit of a goof ball – his favorite spot to perch is on his handler’s head! His favorite activity is to be misted with water – he will often hold his wings out one at a time to ensure you mist all of his feathers!



You can meet Dinozzo by booking one of our animal packages! Take a look at the different options by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. Unlike most pigeons that feed on seeds, the pied imperial pigeon eats mainly fruits and berries.
  2. They have been known to live up to 20 years in captivity!
  3. They can swallow large fruits – the seeds are spit out after the flesh has been digested in the bird’s crop.


Senegal Parrot (Poicephalus senegalus) | West Africa | Least Concern (IUCN)

Senegal parrots are known for their bright, beautiful plumage of green and orange. They are very gregarious; always chattering in a range of squawks and whistles.

SaoXing came to us from a loving family who could no longer take care of him. He came to us at 20 years old, but these little guys can still live a long time up to 40-5o years! He loves meeting new people and will happily perch on your arm and whistle for you.


You can meet Xing by booking one of our animal packages! Take a look at all the different options by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. Although they are endearing parrots are very difficult pets; requiring a lot of attention and often out living their owners.
  2. Senegal parrots feed mainly on fruits, seeds, and grains.
  3. In some parts of Africa they are a farm pest due to their preference for corn.


Burrowing Parrot (Cyanoliseus patagonus) | Argentina


Burrowing parrots nest by forming  burrows on the sides of a cliff faces. Pairs expand their burrow each year – these burrows can form zig-zagging tunnels up to 2.5 meters long before opening into a chamber where the chicks are raised!

Ollie is one of our oldest resident animals. Her exact age is unknown, but we estimate she was born sometime around 1987. She was a pet before being surrendered to a vet clinic where she lived for many years. In 2014 Ollie found her permanent home at Hands on Exotics and has since won over our hearts!

Ollie is now living her best retired life with us, but you can meet some of her other parrot friends instead by clicking here: Animal Packages


Cool Facts

  1. Burrowing parrots feed mainly on seeds, fruits, and grains.
  2. They form large flocks exceeding 1000 birds
  3. The largest colony in the wild extends over 9 km of sandstone cliff and contains ~35,000 active nest burrows!




Military Macaw (Ara militaris) | Mexico to South America

Military macaws get their name from their green plumage, which resembled military uniforms.They are a vulnerable species in the wild, mainly due to deforestation for wood / paper products as well as capture for the pet trade.

Elmo was born in 1999. He was owned by a nurse at a seniors facility that we visit regularly, but they were finding it hard to give him the attention that he needs. Elmo loves to dance and flap his wings, but his favorite game in peak-a-boo under a blanket.

You can meet Elmo by booking one of our animal packages! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. Military macaws are found in forested areas and eat mainly seeds, fruits, and nuts.
  2. When they are excited, their face flushes a pink colour, just like when we blush
  3. They are extremely difficult to care for, requiring several hours of interaction daily. Their large, strong beaks make them very destructive.

Blue-tongued Skink (Tiliqua scincoides)| Australia

IUCN Status: no special designation

The blue-tongue skink or bluey is one of the larger of more than 1500 different kinds of skinks. True to their name, they have a large blue tongue that can be startling when fully extended. These guys aren’t just being rude though – scientists think that their bright blue tongue may scare predators into thinking they are toxic.

Meet one of our skinks by booking one of our animal packages. For more information click here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. They are omnivores and like to forage for their food
  2. Eggs hatch while still inside the females body so babies are birthed live
  3. In Australia, they are considered useful as they like to eat pest animals like slugs and snails

Azula, Slippery Pete, and Gigantor


Red Lory / Indonesia and Australia


This intelligent bird has a playful personality and a colourful appearance. They’re often described as flamboyant, theatrical and pugnacious birds.

Rapunzel is still very young, we are teaching her to be very friendly and social with humans. They can develop affection toward more than one person, but red lories often pick a favourite flock member. In the wild, Lories eat nectar, pollen, fruits, and occasional insects.

You can meet Rapunzel by booking one of our animal packages! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. They are the second most commonly kept lory in captivity, after the Rainbow Lorikeet.
  2. Its natural habitats are tropical moist lowland forests and tropical mangrove forests.
  3. Their bills are narrow and less powerful than other types of parrots and their gizzards are generally thin-walled and weak.


Umbrella Cockatoo / Indonesia


Umbrella Cockatoos (aka white cockatoos) are often kept as pets because they can be very affectionate, bond closely with people, and are valued for their beauty. Although that may sound like the makings of a great pet, they are also among the loudest birds in the world, require constant attention, and often scream when their owner leaves the room until they return. You also don’t want to get on the wrong end of their sharp and powerful beaks!

Annabelle lives with some of our other parrots here at the zoo. She is very touch friendly, she loves to be held and pet. Her favourite things to say are “Hi Cookie” and “Pretty Girl”. Her favourite food to eat is sunflower seeds.

You can meet Annabelle by booking one of our animal packages! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. The undersides of the wings and tail have a pale yellow or lemon colour which flashes when they fly.
  2. The male White Cockatoo usually has a broader head and a bigger beak than the female.
  3. In the wild, White Cockatoos feed on berries, seeds, nuts, fruit and roots. When nesting, they include insects and insect larvae.


Blue and Gold Macaw / South America

These birds can reach 30 to 34 in long and weigh 1.9 to 3.3 lbs, making them one of the larger members of the macaw family.

Vega loooves food, her favorite snack is whatever you happen to be eating at the time. If she sees you eating, she will try to get your attention by saying “HELLO” very loudly. Vega was privately owned before she came to live at Hands on Exotics, and was donated as her previous family did not have enough time to give her the attention she needs. Macaws are highly intelligent and need constant stimulation to keep them happy. As such, they are not appropriate pets for most people.

You can meet Vega by booking one of our animal packages! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. Average life span is 60-80 years.
  2. Macaws typically mate for life. They not only breed with, but also share food with their mates and enjoy mutual grooming. In breeding season, mothers incubate eggs while fathers hunt and bring food back to the nest.
  3. There are 17 species of macaws, and several are endangered.

Phyllis, Jamal, and Hamburglar

Ferrets / North America

213011-11WEBThese mammals are territorial, like to burrow and and prefer their sleeping area to be enclosed.

Ferrets are extremely energetic animals that love to play and wrestle. They were originally domesticated from the European polecats to be hunters for pest control.


You can meet one of our ferret friends by booking one of our animal packages! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. They have a quick metabolism that has them eating constantly.
  2. They sleep 14-18 hours a day, waking up at dawn and dusk.
  3. Like other mammals, ferrets have scent glads that allow them to mark their territory.


Vinegaroon / Tropical and Subtropical

213011-10WEBAlso known as whip scorpions due to their resemblance to true scorpions as well as their whip-like tail.

Our vinegaroons might seem scary to most, but unlike scorpions they are not venomous. They are nocturnal predators, mainly hunting insects, although they have been known to take on scorpions.

Females lay around 40 eggs at once, which remain in a brood sac on her abdomen which she protects from harm. When hatched, the babies crawl onto her back where they attach themselves with specialized suckers.

You can meet our vinegaroon by booking one of our animal packages! Take a look by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. They are called Vinegaroons because they spray a secretion that smells of vinegar when attacked.
  2. Have 8 legs, with 6 used for walking and 2 modified to serve as antennae.
  3. They have 1 pair of eyes on the front of their head and 3 pairs on each side of their head.


Silvery Cheeked Hornbill / Zimbabwe, originally

213011-12WEBHornbills have a look like no other with their prehistoric looking beaks and their shimmering black feathers.

Maggie is our first bird of her kind. She has been a great addition to our family. Maggie enjoys catching grapes in her beak and helping us hand out business cards.


You can meet Maggie by adding her to one of our animal packages! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. Their call sounds similar to a ‘honking’ noise.
  2. You can tell a male and female apart by their size and beaks; Females are smaller with a reduced casque.
  3. Silvery Cheeked Hornbills enjoy a variety of fruits and nuts in their diet.

Poncho & Kolby

Yellow Headed Amazons / South America

Amazon parrots are arguably the best talkers in the world, often learning vocabularies of hundreds of words. They are extremely difficult to keep as pets, and are endangered in the wild due to the pet trade.

Poncho and Kolby have been living together most of their lives and were adopted as a pair in 2011. They know over a hundred words and four songs! Their favourite song is Old MacDonald had a Farm; sometimes it is hard to get them to stop singing it. They were also kept by a teen-aged girl in the past so they also like to say `oh wow` and `oh my god` once in a while.

You can meet Poncho and Kolby by booking one of our animal packages! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. They live 40-60 years on average.
  2. Sunrise and Sunset are their favourite times to be noisy.
  3. Amazons and African Greys are among the smartest animals in the world, and certainly the best talkers.
Poncho and Kolby

Periwinkle & Pansy

Red-Footed Tortoise / Northern South America


Red-Footed Tortoises are extremely popular pets, these guys are harmless, adorable, and eager to eat your spare greens, fruits, and veggies.

Periwinkle and Pansy are our resident tortoises. They love showing off all of the features that distinguish them from aquatic turtles, teaching kids and adults alike the differences between these land dwellers and their water based counterparts. They are so tame that they love eating banana right out of your hand!

You can meet one of our Red-Footed Tortoises by booking one of our animal packages! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. They take a long time to grow up, almost as long as a human.
  2. They can easily live for 50 years or more.
  3. If they get turned upside down in the wild, other tortoises will come help to push them over – how sweet!

Periwinkle and Pansy


Boa Constrictor / Mexico to South America

Alejandro, Julio, Freya and Popcorn are our current boas. Our boas are rescues or re-homes that are now happily living at Hands On Exotics, and visit people all over the GTA.

Boa constrictors live in a wide variety of habitats, but prefer the tropical rainforests due to the ideal temperature and humidity, abundant tree cover to hide from predators, and the wide variety of prey available. They are great climbers and swimmers, and are often seen living in rodent burrows underground to hide from predators.

Although they are often feared, they pose no threat to humans.

You can meet our boas by booking one of our animal packages! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. The only animal we can find where the common name and Latin name are the same – boa constrictor.
  2. Maximum lengths of 12-14 feet are extremely rare, though they have been recorded.
  3. Our largest boa eats only once or twice a month.



African Pygmy Hedgehog / Central Africa

Since they are covered with sharp quills for defense, these small mammals do not need any offensive weaponry to stay safe.

African pygmy hedgehogs originate from Africa and despite their small size, are among the fiercest animals living there! Their high tolerance to toxins allows them to hunt for scorpions and small venomous snakes, and their sharp quills keep them safe from large predators including lions!

You can meet one of our hedgehog friends by booking one of our animal packages! View all the different options by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. Hedgehogs need to be kept warm or else they go into a semi-hibernation from which they may never return.
  2. When provoked or scared, they curl up into a ball, covering themselves completely with sharp, erect quills.
  3. When they are born their quills are soft to allow for a less painful birth, but the quills harden within hours of being born.



Scorpions / Worldwide

These animals strike fear into the hearts of many people and venom into the blood of other animals.

Not all scorpions, and not all arachnids, are the same. Some you should definitely run away from, others can make great, easy, pets, and are not difficult to handle. We commonly work with Desert Hairy Scorpions, Emperor Scorpions, and Flat Rock Scorpions, a wide range that showcases the diversity of scorpion lifestyles from tropical to desert.

Ask our staff about including a scorpion in your animal package! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. Most scorpion stings are “dry stings” meaning no venom is injected.
  2. Most scorpion venom is no more potent than that of a bee sting.
  3. They are arachnids, close cousins of the tarantula, with 8 legs and 2 main body segments.


Sir Lancelot & Dark Knight

Sudanese Plated Lizards / North Africa

These are knights of the lizard world, covered with a tough suit of armor from their head to their tail. But they are more interested in sitting on your lap than lancing you through the torso.

These little guy are one of the easiest lizards to work with. As calm as a bearded dragon, but with very different and interesting features. Kids love feeling their tough armored skin and learning about protective adaptations.

You can meet one of our Plated Lizards by booking one of our animal packages! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. Only half of their body is armored. Their belly is soft and vulnerable.
  2. They are omnivores and eat everything from veggies to other smaller lizards.
  3. They can grow up to 70cm long.

Sir Lancelot & Dark Knight


Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches / Madagascar

The cockroaches we are used to are pests. But they are extremely important to the environment and extremely interesting to learn about.

Though we have multiple varieties of Roaches at Hands on Exotics, the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach is the easiest to handle as it is the calmest. But when it gets irritated it gives off a very loud scary hissing sound!

You can meet one of our Cockroaches by booking one of our animal packages! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. They can produce four distinct hisses to communicate different information.
  2. After seeing or touching a human, cockroaches run away to wash themselves. It seems they think of us the same way we think of them.
  3. The hissing sound comes from air being pushed various holes in their body. No other animal produces sound in quite the same way.



Milk Snake / SE Canada to Northern Venezuela

No, they don`t drink milk, they like to eat whole animals like all snakes. But this thin, small snake is harmless to humans and a favourite pet among reptile enthusiasts.

Milk snakes are terrific first snakes to meet. 2-4 feet long, light, slender, though a little fast, even someone with a bit of a fear of snakes can handle one of these with ease. They are great introductions to the world of snakes. We like to bring out one of these before we bring out one of our bigger snakes.

You can meet Clyde by booking one of our animal packages! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. Like coral snakes, they use colourful bands to tell other animals that they are venomous.
  2. This snake, however, is faking being venomous. This is a friendly, harmless snake.
  3. Milk snakes got their name from the fact that they were often seen in barns with cows, leading to the (false) belief that they drink milk directly from cows. In reality they like barns for the mice.
Pumpkin and Clyde

Paprika & Cheddar

Rat / Worldwide

Often feared, rats make exceptionally good and friendly pets. In history they may be carriers of pestilence and disease, but as pets they are attention-seeking sweethearts.

Rats are social and playful – when they are playing they sometimes let out a cheerful sound similar to laughter. They typically use a litter box and can trained to do tricks, just like a dog!

You can meet one of our rats by booking one of our animal packages! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. Rats are extremely omnivorous, they can live on everything from seeds to insects, to vegetables.
  2. A group of rats is called a mischief.
  3. Rats like to be extremely clean, bathing many times a day.

Paprika & Cheddar

Torch & Smaug

Bearded Dragon / Australia

Calm, cool, and collected. These laid back lizards are the perfect pet for anyone into reptiles. Easy going and touch friendly, they will happily sit with you for hours, basking in your warmth and happily accepting pats
You can meet one of our Beardies by booking one of our animal packages! Find out more by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. Also goes by the name Pogona.
  2. Despite looking quite ferocious Bosco eats mostly leafy greens, though she loves to chase insects every few days.
  3. Their beards help scare away predators by making them look bigger.

Torch & Smaug


Tarantula / Worldwide

Most people would recognize a tarantula, but few know just what an interesting spider a tarantula can be. These big, beefy spiders strike fear in the hearts of arachnophobes everywhere, but in truth, tarantulas are some of the least aggressive and dangerous spiders around.

We care for a variety of tarantulas from common Rose Hair tarantulas to big Salmon Bird Eaters!

You can meet a tarantula by booking one of our animal packages! View all the different options by clicking here: Animal Packages

Cool Facts

  1. Female tarantulas can live 30 years or longer in the wild.
  2. The largest tarantulas have a leg span of nearly 10 inches, or about the size of a dinner plate.
  3. Tarantulas are quite docile and rarely bite people.