By Mary Alice Hartsock
Photos by Paul Jamrogowicz, Drexel University
Ollie the 36-pound northern leopard tortoise has been at the Academy for 23 years—longer than her keeper, Bar Carter. Ollie snoozes in the morning, waking up to relax in the spray of the hose the keepers use to clean other animals’ enclosures.
When Carter cleans the green iguana enclosure, Ollie, who roams freely in the Academy’s behind-the-scenes live animal center, sits behind the door and traps Carter inside—just for fun, of course! If Ollie smells lunch, she walks around until it’s her turn, almost always getting underfoot. She eats throughout the afternoon, returning to her bowl when she’s not basking under a warm light.
Ollie is the love interest of our male tortoise, Kobe, who follows Ollie all day, biting the back of her shell or knocking into her with his shell. She tolerates him, but she is more interested in the attention she receives from museum visitors.
Stop by our children’s discovery center, Outside In, every Tuesday to see Ollie and her friends! Kobe hangs out in Outside In on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Our live animals will be the stars on Tuesday, December 29, during Fur, Feathers, and Scales Day. Part of All-star Days at the Academy, Fur, Feathers, and Scales Day gives you a closer look at our critters, chances to touch real furs and scales, crafts, and story time. There will be live shows featuring our animal ambassadors, plus plenty of interaction with our experienced educators. Buy tickets today!