NHM, including the Spider Pavilion and Nature Gardens, is closed until further notice. View our COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for more information.

Meet Our Museum Animals

What the Vertebrate Living Collections team has been up to during the museum's temporary closure, including telemedicine and museum walk-abouts.

Opossum

Meet Leslie Gordon, Manager of Vertebrate Living Collections. A dedicated doyenne who oversees this specialized NHM team, Gordon shares what her crew has been up to during the temporary closure. They have been minding the chrysalises in the insectory, feeding the Arroyo chub (tiny fishes swimming in the pond in the Nature Gardens) and preparing culinary delicacies for the California newts in their swank enclosure in the Nature Lab.

Gordon and her critter care team are also monitoring the animals’ health and keeping in touch with their veterinarian through telemedicine sessions. In the quarantine area of the live animal program’s offices, a particularly fetching reptile is getting acclimated to museum life (Gordon will introduce you to this California king snake, who slithers and shines in his close-up).

Gordon also takes critters on museum walkabouts. The tortoise step out in the gardens for an outing, for instance. And there are many other “enrichment activities” too, including toys and puzzles, for all the animals, depending on the species’ needs. You will even witness a rat-training exercise. You’ll see many other things these animal lovers are doing to tend to the
creatures that call the Museum home.