What started out in the mid-70s as a small park for a few European fallow deer, pygmy goats, and some fowl has grown into a home for approximately 90 animals (not counting the “visiting” rabbits, squirrels, and birds all looking for a free lunch!) Don't miss this North Carolina animal park, a favorite stop for Tweetsie Railroad® visitors of all ages.
A miniature breed native to West Africa, pygmy goats are naturally social and good-natured. They like to run, jump, and climb. Pygmy goats range from 16” to 22” when grown. A female is called a “nanny,” a male is called a “billy,” and babies are called “kids,” naturally! Gestation is five months. Births are single or twins, but sometimes triplets occur. Goats eat weeds, briars, and grain.
The Romans took fallow deer to Europe over two thousand years ago. They are smaller than our native whitetail deer, and the males have webbed antlers. Fallow deer have three common colors: chocolate, white, and spotted. Unlike whitetails, fallow deer keep their spots for their entire lives. Males are called “bucks,” females are “does,” and babies are called “fawns.” In the spring, bucks grow velvety antlers. In the fall, they rub the velvet off onto trees, exposing sharp, bony antlers. In the wild, the bucks shed their antlers in late winter, and grow a new set each year. A single fawn is born in May or June, unlike the twins of whitetail deer. The doe “barks” to call her babies, and bucks “bark” to attract mates.
The Nubian goat is a large, proud, and graceful dairy goat that was developed in England by crossing British goats with bucks from India and Africa (including Nubia, in northeast Africa—the origin of the name “Nubian”). Their coat is generally short, fine and sleek, and comes in many colors, solid or patterned. They are known for their long, pendulous ears that hang close to the head.
The emu is a large, flightless bird native to the grassy plains and dry, open forests of Australia, where they have lived for about 80 million years. The name emu is from an Arabic word for “large bird.” In the wild they eat fruits, flowers, insects, grubs, seeds, and green vegetation, and they love caterpillars. They ingest large stones into their gizzards to aid in grinding their food. The female lays eight to ten large, thick-shelled, dark green eggs, which the male sits on until they hatch in about eight weeks. During that time he does not eat, surviving on acquired fat and any morning dew he can reach from the nest, losing one-third of his body weight. Some females stay and defend the nest until the chicks start hatching, but most leave the nesting area completely, and often nest again with another male, up to three times a season.
The llama is a large mammal in the camel family that originated in North America. About 25,000 years ago llamas would have been a common sight in modern-day California, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Missouri, and Florida. Llamas now reside mainly in South America, living in herds on the high plains of the Andes Mountains, working in altitudes that most animals cannot tolerate. They can carry loads up to 100 lbs., but they are never ridden. Used as a pack animal since the days of the Incas, they are also valued for their flesh, milk, and luxurious, soft wool.
The burro was brought to North America by Spanish explorers in the late 15th century. They are descended from the small donkeys of northeastern Africa. These strong, hardy, agile, and sure-footed animals were used for pulling carts and as pack animals by explorers and prospectors in the western United States. Burros are intelligent, clever, curious, friendly, and playful.
Miniature horses are generally identified as having a height of less than 34 inches at the withers (shoulder). They were first recorded in France in 1650 AD, where they were gaining popularity as pets for Europe's nobility. Later, due to their size, intelligence and strength, they were used in European coal mines, and were called “pit ponies.” They come in various colors and coat patterns, and make wonderful domestic pets. Their average life span is 30 years.
Both are common in eastern and central North America. Preferring quiet waters and muddy bottoms with profuse vegetation, they are opportunistic omnivores feeding on a wide range of animal and plant material.
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC 28605