Effie Yeaw Nature Center
A Community Service of the
American River Natural History Association

Reptiles and Amphibians

We have six snakes:

  • three Gopher snakes, Dragonette, Fred and Jasper;
  • two Kingsnakes, Eddy and Bullseye; and
  • one Western Aquatic Garter Snake, Sprite.  


Finally, we have three pond animals:  

  • Clem, a Western Pond Turtle, and
  • Speckles and Spartacus, Tiger Salamanders.
Tanner, the resident Red-tailed Hawk
Echo, our Great-Horned Owl
Photo Betty Cooper
In the Fall of 2011, Echo, a young Great Horned Owl about 6-7 months old,  was found by a volunteer rehabilitator in the South Lake Tahoe area,  crying (begging for food) in the night.  When the volunteer called to her,  Echo flew right down and ate the food offered to her.  This behavior unfortunately meant that Echo was imprinted -- raised by humans as a young owl -- and did not know how to hunt for food or take care of herself.  She was looking to people to feed her and would not survive in the wild.
Rocky, the American Kestrel
Photo Michael Hanlon
Sophia, the Northern Saw-whet Owl


The Effie Yeaw Nature Center takes care of more than a dozen non-releasable animals native to the American River system. These animals cannot be returned to their native habitat.  In many cases they have been injured, orphaned or grown too accustomed to people.

We have five birds:

  • a Northern Saw-whet Owl, Sophia,
  • a Great Horned Owl, Echo
  • a Red-tailed Hawk, Tanner,
  • a Red-shouldered Hawk, Skye, and
  • a American Kestrel, Rocky. 
All these birds are tamed to the glove and act as animal ambassadors, visiting schools, taking part in programs and helping in our educational efforts.

In addition, we have numerous reptiles and amphibians, which are on display in the lobby and the Discovery Room.  

These include a Western Pond Turtle, Clem, a Skink, Gilbert, a Western Fence Lizard, Blue, a Rattlesnake and several Gopher and King Snakes, Tree Frogs, and Toads.

Although we house resident animals, the Nature Center is NOT a licensed animal rescue facility and we cannot accept animals needing care. If you find an injured animal, we are willing to help you find the right rehabilitation organization – please call us during our business hours: 916-489-4918.
Through our "Adopt an Animal" program you can help us provide for their care, food, vitamins, vet visits and medicine.

To adopt, download the brochure, complete the form and mail in your contribution.
Or complete the online form below

Your adoption is a sponsorship donation that will be used to help provide food and care for the animals on exhibit at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center.

Adoption Levels:

For your $25 donation you will receive a Nature Center car decal, a photo and history of your animal, natural history of the species and an adoption certificate.

For your $50 donation you will receive all of the benefits above, plus a Nature Center finger puppet.

For your $100 donation you will receive all of the benefits above, plus the ARNHA publication "The Outdoor World".

For your $250 donation you will receive all of the benefits above, plus a framed personal photo with you and your adopted animal.

To complete the form below, choose your adoption level from the first drop-down menu, and your kind of animal from the second one.  If you have one special animal in mind, fill in its name in the first text box and, in the second one,  let us know the name of the adopter as you would like it to appear on the adoption certificate. Then click on Add to Cart and you will be taken to a secure payment site where you can use a credit card or Paypal.
Adoption Levels
Adoption Choices
Animal Name (Optional)
Name of Person Adopting
"A bird never doubts its place at the center of the universe."-- Barbara Kingsolver  (Prodigal Summer)    


Luna, the Barn Owl, having spent the last 14 years educating and touching the lives of so many, passed away on June 29, 2011. Over the years, if not the center of the universe, Luna was certainly the center of attention during many presentations both at the Nature Center and in the classroom.  


Taken to the California Raptor Center in 1997 it was thought Luna had fallen from the nest and that she might have some brain damage. She would not eat and ultimately had to be force-fed to keep her alive. Efforts to rehabilitate her failed. Having such close contact with humans Luna became imprinted on them and, consequently, could not be released back into the wild. Luna came to the Nature Center at only a few months old and throughout the years she helped teach the public the important role that barn owls play in our environment.   A stealth hunter, barn owls primarily use their acute sense of hearing to detect and capture their prey, mainly rodents. Unfortunately, in the wild, a large percentage of barn owls do not make it through their first year! We were lucky to have Luna in our lives for 14 years. We will miss her very much!