Entries tagged with: zoo

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The Maras of ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

maramainpic.jpg The latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

When you first see a Mara or Patagonian cavy (Dolichotis patagonum), it’s hard to know what to make of it. It looks like a chimerical creature, part rabbit, part deer with it’s hunched posture and long slender legs. But the mara is neither! They are actually rodents and most closely related to guinea pigs. Those long deer-like legs are adaptations for running and even have hoof-like claws on the hind feet! All advantageous for foraging in their native Argentine grasslands. These little creatures can reach speeds of 45 kilometres per hour.

Maras are one of the few mammals species that appear to be truly monogamous, pairing for life and with pairs generally avoiding and fending off others of the same species. Yet curiously, maras raise their young together in communal creches! Like guinea pigs, the babies (usually 2) are born well developed with their eyes open.

We encountered this lot at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, where maras are one of three species which have more or less free range throughout the park. It’s a great place to encounter them and it’s fascinating to watch them play and forage among and between all of the other animal enclosures. We spotted a new baby too, which was the size of a young rabbit (and extremely cute!). More photos on the next page and you can find out more about these charming little creatures from ARKive!

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Poison Arrow Frogs at the London Zoo

zslfrogs-5.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

There are so many species I love in the Reptile (and amphibian!) house at the London Zoo, but these two species were particularly fascinating to watch as they boldly courted around the enclosure. The black-legged or bicolored dart frog (Phyllobates bicolor) and the strawberry poison-dart frog (Oophaga pumilio) were chasing prospective mates and rivals around their enclosures and calling so loudly you could hear them over the din of school groups (a very impressive feat!).

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Slender Lorises at the London Zoo

slenderloris-1.jpg The latest from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

I recently had the honor of spending a quiet weekday morning completely mesmerized by these incredible creatures at ZSL London Zoo. The beautiful grey slender loris (Loris lydekkerianus) is an incredible nocturnal primate and it’s hard to describe the experience of watching them. It’s simultaneously very relaxing and thrilling to see them moving with a unique combination of elegance and awkwardness with their long limbs stretching from branch to branch. At the London Zoo, these creatures live in the nocturnal house below the Rainforest exhibit and the zoo recently welcomed twins! See more pics on the next page!

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Baby Tapir at Bristol Zoo

babytapir1.jpg Just in from the UK ~ Justine just showed me the most adorable pictures of a baby tapir she took, and i had to share! See what she has to say below…

The Bristol Zoo just had a beautiful new baby tapir and I couldn’t resist going to meet him. I had heard about the new arrival from Zooborns and just had to see the little watermelon striped baby for myself. The Brazilian or Lowland Tapir (Tapirus terrestris) is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List. Find out more about them at ARKive and see some of my favorite pictures (including a tapir yawn!) on the next page.

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