Animals

At WonderLab you’ll discover critters that crawl, swim, slither and scurry. Exhibits showcase the diversity of the living world, as well as the ancient environment of south-central Indiana as evidenced by fossils. Bring your questions! We love to discuss our gallery animals.

Photos by Liam McGouldrick

Wonder Under the Waves Saltwater Aquarium

The Wonder Under the Waves Saltwater Aquarium is an Indo-pacific a coral reef ecosystem with a variety of inhabitants including fish and live coral. Surrounding the aquarium is a fossil wall that includes descendants of animals found in this region’s fossil record.

The WonderLab aquarium turned five-years-old in 2022! What can you discover in our thriving coral reef?

Learn More About Our Coral Reef

Blue-Tongued Skink

A Blue-Tongued Skink is a type of lizard  sometimes confused with a snake. This is because of the skink’s elongated neck that resembles a snake’s head. Because skinks have such short legs they appear to slither much like a snake, too. But don’t be fooled!

Scientific Name: Tiliqua scincoides

Native Habitat and Range: Savannah and Deserts of Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania

Diet Type: Omnivore

Native Diet: various insects, other reptiles, and any plant material they can find. 

WonderLab Diet: daily salads of dark leafy greens, various squashes, sweet potato, bell pepper, blueberries, mange, papaya and carrots as well as protein consisting of crickets, cockroaches, mealworms and boiled chicken

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Corn Snakes

Corn snakes are a common type of snake found in many parts of North America. Like all reptiles, they cannot generate heat internally to warm their body. This is what it means to be “ectothermic.” Because their body temperature changes with the temperature of the environment, they require an external source of heat.

Scientific Name: Pantherophis guttatus

Native Habitat and Range: Woods and meadows of the southeastern United States from New Jersey to Florida to Kuntucky and Louisiana

Diet: Carnivore

Native Diet: other reptiles, small frogs, small rodents, birds and bats

WonderLab Diet: mice every 2 weeks 

Beehive

Honey bees are less than an inch in length and have a hairy brownish thorax and a dull orange and black banded abdomen. A colony consists of three different kinds of bees: a queen, workers, and drones. Each colony has only one queen, whose sole job is to lay eggs. Most of the bees in the colony are workers, which are all female and do all the work around the hive. There are also a few drones (male bees) in the colony, whose main role is to mate with receptive queens.

Scientific Name: Apis mellifera

Native Habitat and Range: Originally found in Europe, the Middle East and Africa but has since been brought to the Americas  

Diet Type: Omnivore

Native Diet: pollen and nectar of plants which makes them important pollinators

WonderLab Diet: The WonderLab bees have full access to outside at all times so collect pollen and nectar and are also given supplements of sugar and water mixes.

What’s the Buzz
Honey Bee Social Structure
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Rough Skinned Newt

Rough-skinned newts look like lizards but are actually amphibians. Their eggs are laid in ponds, and they are born with gills and no legs. Legs and lungs develop after they go through metamorphosis. They grow to be about three-and-a-half to eight inches long.

Scientific Name: Taricha Granulosa

Native Habitat and Range: Amphibians of the Pacific Northwest from California to Alaska and Canada so they live in both lakes, ponds, rivers and streams as well as surrounding forests and mountains

Diet Type: Carnivore

Native Diet:insects, snails, worms, pretty much anything small enough for them to catch

WonderLab Diet: bloodworms, brine shrimp and small snails

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Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

The Madagascar hissing cockroach, also known as the hissing cockroach or simply hisser, is one of the largest species of cockroach, reaching 5 to 7.5 centimeters at maturity. They are commonly found in rotting logs.

Scientific Name: Gromphadorhina portentosa

Native Habitat and Range: Tropical Rainforest found only in Madagascar

Diet Type: Detritivore

Native Diet: clean up fruits and vegetation that falls to the forest floor as well as insect and animal carcassase

WonderLab Diet: fruits and vegetables such as various squashes, sweet potato, bell pepper, blueberries, mange, papaya and carrots

Cockroach Survivors
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Vinegaroon

A vinegaroon is often referred to as a “whip scorpion,” although it is really not a scorpion at all. Like the scorpion, the vinegaroon is an arachnid, but it is actually more closely related to a spider than a scorpion.

Scientific Name: Mastigoproctus giganteus

Native Habitat and Range: Deserts if the Southwestern United States and grasslands of Florida

Diet Type: Carnivore

Native Diet: insects, millipedes and other arachnids it can catch as well as occasionally small frogs

WonderLab Diet: crickets, mealworms, and cockroaches

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Big-Headed Ants

Big-headed ants are a species of ants with unique characteristics. Can you guess what it is? That’s right – their heads are gigantic! The big-headed is polymorphic, meaning it has multiple types of forms including queens, males, supermajors, majors, and minors. Each type plays its own role within the colony. The scientific name for the big-headed ant is Pheidole rhea.

Scientific Name: Pheidole rhea

Native Habitat and Range: They build underground colonies in the Deserts if the Southern United States

Diet Type: Omnivore

Native Diet: sweet liquids such as honeydews, dead arthropods, and soil invertebrates

WonderLab Diet: sugar water, pecans, seeds, crickets, mealworms, and cockroaches

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Pink Toed Tarantula

With a flash of midnight blue and a bright pink set of toe tips, this fuzzy tarantula is beautiful. However, it may be hard to enjoy these colors in the darkness of night, when this nocturnal species is most active.

Scientific Name: Avicularia avicularia

Native Habitat and Range: Arboreal meaning they live in the trees of the rainforests in South America

Diet Type: Carnivore

Native Diet: insects, other arachnids and even small rodents and frogs

WonderLab Diet: cockroaches, mealworms and crickets

Support WonderLab’s Animals

Bite sized donations help feed our animals! Support of any amount will help provide food and supplies for all the WonderLab animals.

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