Golden Ranch Farms is home to an array of other animals, including but not limited to a number of deer varieties, members of the antelope family, birds, and fish. These animals enjoy the 50,000 acre-eco system of trees, marsh waters, and distinctive Louisiana swampland that is the oldest and largest, privately-owned refuge in the state.
On any given day on Golden Ranch, you may cross paths with a blackbuck. A blackbuck is not actually a deer, but an antelope—the Indian antelope—that lives in grassy plains and slightly forested areas with a lot of water. You can identify a blackbuck from their long, ringed horns, the white fur on their chin and their eyes complementing black stripes on their face.
The Golden Ranch blackbucks live alongside their lighter-colored antelope cousin: the Arabian white oryx. Arabian or white oryxes have a distinct shoulder bump, longer and straight horn, and a tufted tail. The oryx was extinct in the wild by the early 1970s but private refuges like Golden Ranch Farms helped ensure that this magical species was the first to revert to vulnerable status after previously being listed as extinct. Now, the oryx is the national animal of the United Arab Emirates, and its image is emblazoned on the tailfins of planes belonging to Middle East airline Qatar Airlines!
Père David’s deer is a species of Chinese deer that went extinct in the wild but has been reintroduced at our facilities to foster the eventual reintroduction of the animal. The species is sometimes known by its informal name sibuxiang, literally meaning “four not alike”; it is variously said that the four are cow, deer, donkey, horse (or) camel, and that the expression means in detail: “the tail of a donkey, the head of a horse, the hoofs of a cow, the antlers of a deer.”
The ever-common fallow deer roam the great, grassy acres of Golden Ranch Farms. The male fallow deer is known as a buck, the female is a doe, and the young a fawn. There are many colors of fallow deer (the name fallow is derived from the deer’s pale brown color) but only bucks have antlers.
You may hear the bellows and alarm barks of the axis deers, also called chital, while you roam Golden Ranch. Axis deer bellow to coincide with rutting, when guarding females or offspring, or when they’re feeling alarmed.
The various deer and antelopes at Golden Ranch have long and slender yet powerful legs—perfect for meandering the vast acres looking for grasses and plants to satisfy their herbivore diet.
Golden Ranch is a refuge like no other—housing animals like deer, alligators, and even zebras.
Birdwatchers from all over would have a field day seeing the many species that visit the ranch throughout the year: the bald eagle, the golden eagle, and other marsh birds and wildlife.
Bald eagles—the national bird and animal of the United States—make their way to our 52, 000 acres every winter to escape colder temperatures in the North and find access to unfrozen waters. But bald eagles are not actually bald! Their name derives from the older meaning of the word, “white headed”. Adults are brown with a white head and tail, with a large hooked yellow-toned beak.
Sac-au-lait is French for “sack of milk” and the title moniker for the compressed, flat bodied sac-au-lait fish that swim throughout the marshes of Golden Ranch. Outside of Louisiana, the sac-au-lait fish species is known as crappies. White crappies are most commonly found over their black counterparts—distinguished by their dots arranged in bars on the side of the fish, compared to black crappies with more spots randomly but evenly distributed.
Louisiana has some of the best bass fishing in the world, largely due to the vast lakes, rivers, and wetlands that make up the state. They get their name from the Middle English word “bars,” which means perch, as bass are characterized as perch-like fish. Despite their widespread and extensive populations, bass fishing can be quite difficult and generally requires a great deal of patience.
The Nutria is a large semiaquatic rodent. They can weigh up to 20 pounds and are easily recognizable by their big buck teeth. They’re more agile in water than on land, and so many make their homes in the wetlands of Golden Ranch. These strong swimmers can remain submerged underwater for as long as five minutes.
Catfish get their name from their long, prominent barbels, which look like a cat’s whiskers – though not all species have them. Catfish can be found in lakes and reservoirs across the United States but are especially prominent in Louisiana’s rivers and wetlands. In fact, catfish are so prevalent in some areas that fishers have been known to catch them with their bare hands!