About 50 miles from Salt Creek Recreation Area is the Two Tails Ranch founded in 1984 to provide a safe place for elephants in need of either a permanent or temporary home.
Founder, chief cook and bottle washer Patricia Zerbini established Two Tails Ranch as both an elephant sanctuary and educational facility located near Williston, FL. Patricia’s family has been training, showing and caring for exotic animals for nine generations. Patricia herself has performed under the big top but much prefers her life as a mother of four sons and caretaker of as many as 40 elephants at one time. Her charges come from Ringling Bros. Circus as well as from zoos that need a place to send elephants while undergoing repairs or restorations.
While we were there we met the three resident Indian Elephants. First we were introduced to Bunny.
Bunny has a sweet tooth and loves peppermint candy. Here she is waiting for Patricia to give her a piece of Christmas candy cane.
Patricia told us a funny story about Bunny. Seems as though Bunny took a liking to a small Matchbox car which Bunny hid in her barn and from time to time would put it into her mouth, then take it outside, retrieve it from her mouth and push it around on a flat surface.
Next we met Roxie.
Sandy opted to buy some carrots and feed Roxie and said it was really a neat experience. The money helps provide for food for the elephants who can consume up to 300 pounds of hay per day along with 30 to 40 pounds of fresh produce.
Last -- me met Luke, who is a superstar of the elephant world, because he has raised over $175,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Luke is nearly 12 feet tall and weighs close to 12,000 pounds. He has been at Two Tails for 23 of his 25 years. Luke’s fame comes from the fact that he is an accomplished painter. Proceeds from his paintings go to charity.
Here Luke is deciding on his next brush stroke as Patricia adds more paint to his brush.
A close up of this gentle giant.
Admission by appointment. Cost is $10.00.