Upon entering the preserve, you will discover a facility for wild animals that are permanently injured and require human care to survive. These animals have become educational ambassadors, teaching the public and school groups about native species and how people can help protect wildlife. The original Outdoor Wildlife Complex was built in 1976, restored in 1995 and is currently the home of hawks, owls, foxes and more.
In addition to the Outdoor Wildlife Complex, there are a variety of exhibits and animals inside the Charles Banks Belt Nature Center, a beautiful place to encounter a variety of reptiles, freshwater turtles, large insects, and chinchillas. Our Giant African Spurred Tortoises have outgrown their original homes, and are housed in our large Greenhouse. The animals in the Outdoor Wildlife Complex can be visited every day from sunrise to sunset. The animals in the Nature Center Building can be visited Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 AM. – 4:00 PM. (Please call the Nature Center to confirm daily hours as they are subject to change)
Read on to meet the some of the resident animals of the Refuge.
Our Adopt-an-Animal Program makes a great gift for the animal lover in your life.
Each adoption comes with a professional matted photograph, a certificate of adoption, and an animal fact sheet.
Resident Animals in the Outdoor Wildlife Complex
The Barred Owls came to the Quogue Wildlife Refuge from the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehabilitation Center in March of 2014 and from the Texas State Aquarium in October 2019. Both sustained injuries after being hit by cars, resulting in partial blindness for both owls. Therefore, they are unable to hunt properly. Both barred owls can often be seen perched on one of the tree branches in their enclosure, if you are lucky you might get a chance to see their beautiful brown eyes!
This Cooper’s Hawk sustained an injury to its right wing from an unknown cause. Although the humerus was treated, the wing remains incapable of fully extending during flight; therefore, this hawk is non-releasable. He is a shy bird and gets nervous around people and loud noises, always remember to use quiet and calm voices around the animal enclosures!
Great Horned Owl
This Great Horned Owl “Hooter” came to the Quogue Wildlife Refuge in 2004 from the Queens College Center. He was raised by humans and became imprinted, which is why he cannot be released into the wild. He is very comfortable around people, and is over twenty years old. Ripley the GHO came to the Refuge in 2017 from the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center and has a permanent wing injury rendering it non-releasable.
The female kestrel came to QWR from Volunteers for Wildlife in Locust Valley. She was raised illegally as a pet until surrendered to a vet with lethargy and a severe respiratory infection. Although she has recovered from her illness, because she is imprinted on humans she was deemed non-releasable.
The male opossum came to the Refuge in December of 2020 from Volunteers for Wildlife after being deemed non-releasable due to a tail amputation (cause unknown).
An opossums’ prehensile tail is important for climbing and evading predators and it was determined that his lack of a tail would hinder survival.
The Red-tailed Hawk is the most common broad winged hawk in North America, and the refuge has a male hawk in residence. In December 2008 the pale-breasted Red-tailed Hawk, “Pale-Male” was brought to North Fork Animal Hospital with a broken left wing, and subsequently, to the Refuge. This bird also had a leather jess on one foot, which indicates that he may have been a falconer’s bird.
These two owls came from STAR (Save the Animals Rescue) foundation in Middle Island. One owl has an injured wing, and the other is blind in one eye. Both of them were injured as adults, so we are unsure of their age. The Eastern Screech Owl is one of the smallest owls in North America, so even though they are small they are actually fully grown. The screech owl is usually only active at night, so if you don’t see them during your visit they might be sleeping inside of a hollowed out log, or nestled in their owl houses. In 2023, the Refuge auctioned off the right to name both of our Screech Owls, and so we would like to welcome “Ollie” and “Wally” to the QWR family!
The Refuge houses four African Spurred Tortoises (Rigga, Mortis, Cactus and Spike) and one Red Footed Tortoise (Red Foot) in our new greenhouse facility at the Refuge. Head on over to the Greenhouse and Butterfly Garden page to learn more about these interesting animals.
Our Nature Center Resident Animals
Our four bearded dragons are native to Australia! Bearded Dragons are accustomed to hot scrubland, woodland, and desert areas. Their tails are almost half of their body length, and they can grow up to 2 feet long! Bearded Dragons are able to store heat, and the colors of their bodies subtly change depending on their mood and temperature. They are omnivores, and eat a variety of things from fresh fruit to live crickets.
McNugget was born on August 3, 2013 to mommy Paco and daddy Nugget, and our new friend Lou was surrendered to the STAR foundation, and was given a new home at QWR. Chinchillas are crepuscular, which means they are active at dawn and dusk. This is why our chinchillas can usually be found napping. Chinchillas do not bathe in water, but instead clean themselves by rolling in volcanic ash.
Eastern Box Turtle
This male eastern box turtle was taken out of the wild illegally by a member of the public. After being kept for over 10 years in their home as a pet, he was surrendered to a wildlife rehabilitation center where he was deemed non-releasable due to his habituation and reliance on humans for food. Please remember that it is illegal to take any native wildlife out of their home habitat. Eastern box turtles are a “species of special concern” due to their dwindling population, so every wild turtle must stay in the wild.
African Ball Pythons
The two African ball pythons that call the Refuge home were surrendered by their previous owner who could not care for them properly. “Monty” and “Blondie” live in the same enclosure and can often be seen resting in their rock huts. African ball pythons get their name from their adorable habit of curling up into a ball and tucking their head in the middle to hide from predators.
We have two resident leopard geckos here at the Refuge. Both geckos were surrendered pets and have been living here since 2022. Leopard geckos have the amazing ability to regenerate it’s tail if part of it is lost. Leopard geckos are also known to make chirps and clicking noises when they are alarmed or annoyed.
Vietnamese Walking Sticks
Here at the refuge, we house a community of Vietnamese walking sticks. It only takes 3 months for a walking stick to reach full size, which can reach up to 5 inches in length! This species is arboreal, meaning they spend a majority of their lives high up in trees. We strive to emulate their natural habitat, so take a look in their enclosure and see if you can determine what is a regular stick, and what is a walking stick!