20 lesser-known animals find a new home at the zoo (Cool Creature Crawl debuts)

20 lesser-known animals find a new home at the zoo (Cool Creature Crawl debuts)

The Oregon Zoo welcomed 20 animals this spring, but they don’t have fur, feathers or scales. These new arrivals are made of wood, and they were created by Portland artist Mike Bennett for a new scavenger hunt at the zoo: the Cool Creature Crawl, presented by First Tech Federal Credit Union.

Inspired by some of the lesser-known animals that call the zoo home, Bennett crafted a pacific lamprey, a naked mole rat and a crocodile monitor, among others. The two-dimensional, hand-painted creatures are located throughout the zoo.

“I’ve always been drawn to unsung heroes,” Bennett said. “Everyone knows you can see lions or elephants at the zoo, but not everyone knows about the southern ground hornbills. This is a fun way to celebrate these cool creatures.”

Guests to the zoo will see the first creature on the crawl, a rocky mountain goat, near the main entrance. From there, they’ll be challenged to see how many more they can spot during their visit.

“As a proud partner of the Oregon Zoo for six years, we’re thrilled to bring wonder and discovery to the Portland community with the Cool Creature Crawl,” said Mairi Burns, vice president of brand marketing for First Tech. “We’ve collaborated with the zoo on a scavenger hunt since 2019 and this is a really exciting next step.”

As part of Metro, the Oregon Zoo helps make greater Portland a great place to call home. Committed to conservation, the zoo acts globally on behalf of species from pikas to polar bears. Over the past 30 years, it has prevented extinctions, expanded populations, advanced conservation science and formed powerful communities to protect wildlife in the Northwest and around the world.

Support from the Oregon Zoo Foundation enhances and expands the zoo’s efforts in species recovery, conservation education and animal well-being. Members, donors and corporate and foundation partners help the zoo make a difference across the region and around the world.


To contribute, go to oregonzoo.org/give. For more information, visit https://www.oregonzoo.org/lights