When it comes to close companions, Zac Efron hangs with
Hollywood's hottest women (ahem, Ashley Tisdale
and Taylor Swift
) and most eligible bachelors (cue Robert Pattinson
and Matthew McConaughey
But you probably haven't seen the latest addition to his posse on the big screen or in the pages of a magazine.
Meet Rich, the red-tailed hawk (who perches on his hand in the video below
"Made a new friend," he Tweeted
Monday, days after a photo shoot with BlackBook
magazine last week at the Wildlife Learning Center
in Los Angeles.
The actor, 24, actually made several, David Riherd, co-founder and trainer of the sanctuary, which shelters displaced wildlife, tells PEOPLE. Among his new critter companions: a gray fox, a Siberian lynx and a kinkajou (which is a relative of the raccoon).
"He was great. He was really respectful of the animals," Riherd says. "He seemed down to earth."
Even the 70-lb. lynx (not to mention a python) didn't intimidate the actor, who posed with the wildlife for the magazine shoot.
Although he didn't have much time to show his wild side with the animals – "It was so hot outside," said trainer Brittany Whitlow, who was also on hand during his visit – Efron did get playful with one special critter.
"[The fox] is so affectionate," Riherd says. "She got right up on his shoulder."
The 8-lb. furry friend also had a specific way of expressing her excitement at meeting the movie star: She licked his face (but this wasn't special treatment, says Riherd, and she treats all of her caregivers with this greeting).
"He seemed really into it," Riherd says. Adds Whitlow: "I think I was surprised at how comfortable he was with everything."