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Our guests often ask us about where our animals live, how they are cared for, and where we source them. We are a home-based company and all of our animals live on-site with us in San Antonio, Texas. Each animal has their own appropriately sized enclosure, and our animals are fed, cleaned, and cared for daily by us and our professional staff. Each of our animal ambassadors have their own adoption story, but most of our animals are rescued or rehomed to us. When we adopt an animal into our family, we give that animal a safe, forever home for the rest of their lives. We understand that our facility is very unique, and we sincerely hope this page helps to thoroughly explain the different aspects of care our amazing animal ambassadors receive.

DIETS

We believe that feeding our animals the right way is a huge factor in keeping them happy and feeling their best. Each one of our individual animals are fed healthy, variable, and species appropriate diets that are prepared with care. We also are sure to include beneficial vitamins and minerals that are essential to their overall wellbeing. Our animals are also not overfed treat items to ensure that they will remain at a healthy weight and activity level for their entire life.

HOUSING & CLEANING

All of our animals live in safe species appropriate enclosures and are given ample space and exercise. Our social animal species (such as Guinea Pigs, Parrots, and Red Footed Tortoises) that benefit from companions are taken into consideration as well, and provided the company they need in order to thrive. We maintain the cleanliness of the animals’ habitats on a daily basis, and utilize safe and effective methods of cleaning and disinfecting to ensure their comfort and health.

VETERINARY CARE

Since we are responsible for a wide variety of domestic and exotic animal species in our facility, our animals require knowledgeable and experienced veterinary care whenever needed. Our animals are provided regular routine vet visits, and we also do our very best to be ready and attentive in the event that an animal needs medical care for any reason whatsoever. Animals that we house which are required to be vaccinated yearly are also always maintained appropriately. Furthermore, we strongly believe that preventive practices are the best way to ensure the health of the animals in our collection, and we keep a very close eye on each and every individual within our care on a daily basis.

ENRICHMENT

Another important aspect of our care is enriching our animals. All species benefit from enrichment (which can be in the form of activity, social time, foraging, new toys or stimulations in their environment, and much more.) These things help to break up the animals’ day, encourage healthy natural behaviors, reduce stress, and help to lessen any boredom. Additionally, many of our animals receive the added benefit of experiencing lots of new surroundings (along with new sights, smells, & sounds) since they are travelling animal ambassadors. And since most of our animals are hands-on, they also receive enrichment in the form of regular training and interaction with their caretakers (and guests) as well.

TRAINING

We believe that any animal species can benefit from training in some capacity. This can be as simple as husbandry behaviors, where an animal is used to (or even willingly participates in) their own routine care, or as complex as performing “tricks” or show behaviors. At the very least, we condition our animals to become used to the presence of humans and general handling. Most of our animals go off-site to participate in animal programs, and they are gently conditioned to do so. Many of our animals even willingly choose to participate in training and travel, since they associate it with positive experiences. We feel that training animals is one of the most beneficial forms of enrichment as well.

TRAVEL

Since most of our animals are traveling animal ambassadors, we must condition them gently to adapt this aspect of their lives, and make sure they are well taken care of throughout. All individuals that do venture off-site to participate in animal encounters are taken into great consideration. Each animal has its own appropriate travel crate or container, and water and food are provided whenever needed. We do our utmost to keep the process as safe, comfortable, and stress-free as possible. Additionally, since every animal has different tolerances, we always keep an eye on weather and temperatures in order to ensure the safety of all animals (and humans) involved. In the event of too hot or cold weather, our programs are rescheduled or moved indoors, and the animals always ride in temperature-controlled vehicles. Not every animal within our collection is a good candidate for off-site visits, and if we find that any individual is not an appropriate fit, we do not force them to participate.

SAFETY

The safety of our animals and guests is very important to us as a company. Our animal encounters are appropriate for people of all ages, and we pride ourselves in being extremely accessible for anyone to enjoy. However, we also take the wellbeing of every animal (and human) involved in each of our bookings very seriously. Our animal ambassadors are safe for visitors to be around, no matter if you’re experiencing one of our Petting Zoos, Photo Ops, Meet and Greets, Formal Presentations, or Animal Therapy Sessions. Additionally, friendly and professional staff members will always attend in order to make sure the animals themselves are safe and comfortable, thus ensuring the very best experience possible for everyone involved.

LICENSING

Part of being a mobile zoo is obtaining the appropriate permissions and paperwork in order to do what we do. We are licensed with the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) & TPW (Texas Parks & Wildlife) to ensure the health and safety of our animals. We are inspected regularly to make sure that we meet any and all requirements. We are also fully insured for the safety of our guests and partners. Please feel free to let us know if you need proof of licensing or insurance for your next upcoming event, or if you have any other general questions regarding this aspect.

WHERE WE SOURCE OUR ANIMALS

It is always important to know that you are supporting an animal facility that sources its animals responsibly. Each of our animal ambassadors has their own adoption story, but most of our animals are rescued or rehomed to us. Others are sourced from reputable breeders or other animal facilities. Sometimes when previous owners decide they no longer want an animal they have, they will reach out to us to see if we can take them in. Other times, certain rescue animals need permanent placement after they receive care. When an appropriate fit comes along, we may choose to house them with us. When we adopt an animal into our family, we give them a safe and forever home for the rest of their lives, so we take great consideration with each and every animal that joins the Once in a Wild family. When animals needing homes are not an appropriate fit for our facility, we often will reach out to people within our community to see if we can find them placement elsewhere.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

The best way to help our animals is by scheduling your own animal encounter! You can also help us by spreading the word about what we do, leaving a positive review, and following us on social media. Other donations to our Animal Care Fund can be made in cash, or via Venmo or CashApp (@onceinawild or $onceinawild). We also have an Amazon wish list on our website, and a Patreon account where you can sponsor our animals. Additionally, we accept donations in the form of supplies from the public as well. If you have more questions, please contact 210-445-5240 to find out more. Every little bit helps. Thank you!

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