Today@Sam Article

Event To Showcase Exotic, Native Animal Collections

July 1, 2015
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

Lions, tigers, and bears…oh my!

The Sam Houston State Natural History Collection will bring some of its “flashiest” holdings to the Huntsville Public Library on July 6 for a “show-and-tell” event, from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Among the items that animal enthusiasts can see, touch and learn about will be the pelts, skulls and bones of exotic animals such as a full-sized polar bear, as well as a tiger and lion, and also native animals including Mexican free-tailed bat, a mountain lion, fox, raccoon, and armadillo.

“Not everyone has seen a raccoon or an armadillo up close, so this presentation will educate community members about the local animals of Huntsville,” said Clayton Sublett, collection manager for Natural History Collection.

“Since we have some larger, more exotic animals, people can pet the pelts of the tigers and other animals; they can see up close and personal what the tiger’s skin actually looks like and touch it,” he said. “In viewing the skulls, they can observe the differences in teeth between omnivores, carnivores and herbivores. 

“Visitors also can just see the size of some of the animals, how big they actually are. You may not realize these things until you’re standing right next to them,” he continued.

As a means of expanding their outreach efforts, the museum personnel will also be on hand to discuss with educators and program coordinators from some of the area’s many youth-related groups the opportunities and resources the museum provides.

“We have resources that are available both to take out on loan—so if they have a project or are teaching on animal skulls, we can loan those out the way a library loans out books—or they can arrange something with us and we will come out and do a presentation with those items,” Sublett said. “With schools, we can gear our presentations toward state testing standards as an alternative teaching method that’s a little more hands-on. We can talk about things they might not otherwise have the opportunity to.”

The natural history collection does more than allow those interested in science or animals the opportunity to see them in real life.

“These artifacts help provide a historical record of what animals lived where and when; they allow researchers to understand variations in size,” Sublett said. “We may only have the pelts and bones now, but when the animals are collected, they take things like weight and measurements. That way, there is still information on the preservation and history of the animals that can be used by researchers later on.”

The event is free and open to the public.  

For more information, contact Sublett at

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