No Lions, No Tigers but Bear Cats, Oh My! My Adventure at an Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Nevada


Update: I’ve recently been informed that as of December 2016, Roos n’ More will be closed to the public! Bummer!

You can read more about the closure here.

The Saturday before last found me standing in a kangaroo enclosure in the middle of the Mojave desert. It was hot – 106 degrees Fahrenheit hot – and I was sweating off my sunscreen faster than I could apply it. It streamed down my face in white streaks and ran into my eyes, which immediately began to water in protest.

This is perhaps why I failed to notice the tall, long-necked creature charging at me until it was head-butting me in the back. I screamed as I stumbled forward and immediately assumed the worst: that I was being attacked by a kangaroo and was about to be disembowled.

If that seems a little over-dramatic, I was only basing that assumption off of what the tour guide had said upon leading us into the enclosure. “Most of the kangaroos are friendly,” she’d said as she’d secured the door behind us. “But there’s one kangaroo…see that great big gray one?…he can be aggressive. If you get too close, he might try to disembowel you.” She’d actually used that word – disembowel – and as she’d said it, my mind had flashed on the image of me lying dead in the dirt, my guts looking like a heap of bloody spaghetti, baking in the sun next to me.

As I turned to face my attacker, however, I realized that it wasn’t the killer kangaroo who’d charged me, but a lama. The same black, wooly lama I’d been petting only moments before.

“Don’t worry,” the guide was quick to assure me. “She’s just playing.” I edged closer to the group anyway though, moving so that the bulky bearded man who’d introduced himself as “Big Sexy” was standing between me and the not-so-playful lama.

“Big Sexy” and I were part of a social club known as “Las Vegas Bucketlist”. Like the name suggests, the group is made up of Las Vegas locals looking to cross adventurous items off their list of things to do before they “kick the bucket”. Some of the activities they’d been planning involved skydiving, white-water rafting, scuba certification classes and a vacation to Hawaii. The trip to Roos ‘n More (the exotic animal sanctuary in Moapa, Nevada, about an hour North of Las Vegas) was an item on the bucket list of another member. I’d tagged along hoping for a chance to play with the baby otters, but the other members had voted for the kangaroos instead and we’d only had time for one private tour.

Here’s a picture of me, posing with the lama only a few minutes before he tried to kill me (and yes, I’m exaggerating).

girl petting black and white lama at roos n more zoo in nevada

Me and the lama

Me and a baby leopard! He was so cuddly and soft.

leopard cub

Reannon holding a baby leopard

This is a bear cat (a tree climbing animal native to Southeast Asia). Though he looks like he’s trying to eat that little boy, he was actually really friendly. He was definitely more like a cat than a bear.


bear cat at roos n more zoo in moapa nevada

Bear cat munching on little boy’s head

bear cat smiling as little boy scratches his head

Bear Cat at Roos n’ More in Moapa, Nevada

woman holding a monkey at a zoo

Cute monkey wearing a diaper

This is a Kookaburra (yep, like the bird from that children’s song). Though the Kookaburra is native to Australia and this particular one was born and raised right here in the desert, even he seemed to be over-heating. Here he is panting like a dog.

kookaburra bird sitting on shoulder of man at petting zoo

Kookaburra chilling on the zoo owner’s shoulder

close-up of hog in the petting zoo

Baby pig

kangaroo zoo las vegas

Kangaroo, doing the over-the-should model-y pose

baby monkey eating girl's bracelet

Nom nom nom…Mmm…Bracelets!

girl holding monkey[/caption]

This a hedgehog. I so want one for a pet. They sell them at the pet stores here in Las Vegas.

hedgehog curled up into a ball

What’s the coolest / weirdest animal you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting?

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Comments ( 4 )

  1. valerie holt

    Thanks for taking the time to blog about your experience at my zoo. As a point of interest; my attack llama Jim Jim is actually an alpaca. Not that he cares; but in case anyone else sees the picture and knows the difference.

  2. Reannon Muth

    @ Valerie - Oops! Thanks for the correction. : )

  3. Future Travel Plans: Area 51, Australia and Hawaii | Taken by the Wind

    [...] the works! In the next few months, I’ll be searching for ET, making my debut on national TV, playing with kangaroos and paddle boarding in the [...]

  4. Anonymous

    hi, i think you got the baby `hedgehog' mixed up with a baby armadillo.