Zoo

The Zoo at Chehaw is home to 238 specimens representing over 125 different species. Enjoy natural, outdoor exhibits including Cheetahs, Black Rhinoceros’, Meerkats, Black Bears, Alligators, and many more, while you stroll through our scenic boardwalks and cypress swamp. Participate in animal feedings and keeper talks every weekend. Chehaw’s African Veldt Ride is free with admission, and will take you through our largest exhibit where seven different species roam in natural herds. The Zoo at Chehaw is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). To be accredited, zoos must undergo a thorough investigation to ensure that they have met, and will to continue to meet, ever-rising standards. These standards encompass animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years.

Gopherus polyphemus

The gopher tortoise, Gopherus polyphemus, is the state reptile of Georgia. This tortoise gets its name from the use of its fossorial front legs to dig deep burrows. Because their burrows are used by several other species in the ecosystem, they are considered a keystone species and are pivotal to their community.  The burrows are found in dry, sandy soils such as those found along the southeastern United States with the majority of its population  (~800,000) occupying Florida. They are one of very few species to dig a burrow that can up to 10 feet deep and 40 feet long! The burrow serves as the ultimate form of protection from predators, the sun, and a refuge from naturally occurring fires.
    
Like most tortoises, gopher tortoises are herbivores and can eat a variety of grasses, fruits, leaves, flowers, or even pine needles! This behavior is beneficial to the community by keeping the plants from over growing while the consumed seeds are dispersed throughout the habitat.