Chewy takes state Capitol by storm


Chewy, Hattiesburg Zoo’s two-toed sloth and ambassador extraordinaire, was quite the attraction at the Mississippi State Capitol last week. The slow-moving animal led Hattiesburg Zoo’s delegation to the legislative hall to highlight the exciting growth of the zoo and its vital role in primary education in south Mississippi. 

 The rotunda was filled with more than just political animals, as guests of the capitol flocked to see what all the fuss was about. Annie the red-tailed boa constrictor, Green Bean the iguana, and other ambassador animals such as chinchillas and baby alligators, along with the humans who look after them, accompanied Chewy during the Capitol visit. Excited students posed for “sloth selfies” and learned how zookeepers take care of their furry and scaly friends.

“It’s incredibly rewarding for us to see the astonishing connections children make with animals. Animal encounters give young people the opportunity to experience the wonders of the natural world,” stated Jeremy Cumpton, Director of Conservation, Education, and Wildlife.

The Hattiesburg Zoo has seen significant increases in attendance, exhibits, events, educational outreach, and income over the past few years, while also highlighting the importance of wildlife and nature conservation.

Rick Taylor, Executive Director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, which operates the Zoo, said, “The Hattiesburg Zoo offers the perfect setting for individuals of all ages to explore animal life from around the world. Education and conservation are the central part of what we do at the Hattiesburg Zoo. We are thrilled to be able to contribute to this important endeavor.”

For additional information about any of the Hattiesburg Zoo’s initiatives and programs, visit or call 601.545.4576.

The Hattiesburg Zoo is a Hattiesburg Convention Commission Facility, in partnership with the City of Hattiesburg. Since 1991, the Hattiesburg Convention Commission has been creating and operating high quality-of-life attractions for the Hattiesburg area.