All Stories

Poisonous Frogs Are Beautiful But Deadly

Tiny and adorable, we have several different frog species on exhibit. As with many members of the animal kingdom, the brighter an animal’s colors are, the more dangerous it is – and frogs are one of the best examples. From the golden mantellas of Madagascar to the green and black poison arrow frogs from South America, frogs are the epitome of “look, but don’t touch!”   Some species of frogs contain enough poison to kill several adult humans. Of the species c... Read More
Posted by Emily Long at 5/30/23

What Makes A Corpse Flower Smell Bad?

As gardeners, the arrival of spring with new blooms and shoots it brings is an exciting, and fragrant, time. There is one flower at the Zoo, however, that bucks this trend: Amorphophallus bulbifer (A. bulbifer), also known as Voodoo lily, or more generally, a corpse flower. The latter name is the most apt description, as Amorphophallus bulbifer stinks like death. Well, almost like death. I consider my nose well-traveled, accustomed to unpleasant odors. Our compost facility is a few dozen fee... Read More
Posted by Emily Long at 5/30/23

What Makes Gopher Tortoises Unique?

Gopher tortoises get their name for the extensive burrow systems they dig, which can extend up to forty feet in length and ten feet deep. This is also what makes them a keystone species in the Florida ecosystem. These burrows provide shelter for a wide range of animals including snakes, lizards, rabbits and many others. The burrows are also a natural shelter during wildfires, providing a safe haven for animals that would otherwise be caught in the path of the flames. When threatened, a gopher... Read More
Posted by Emily Long at 4/25/23

Giant Anteaters Would be Horrible at Pest Control

As their name suggests, giant anteaters feed primarily on ants (and termites) and can consume up to 30,000 of those insects in a day. However, it would be nearly impossible to supply this in a zoo setting. Instead, our anteaters receive an insectivore grain that’s soaked with water to make a gruel which they can lap out of a PVC tube with their two-foot-long tongue. Our male anteater even gets canned and dry cat food mixed in with his diet! Both of our anteaters also love avocados, bana... Read More
Posted by Emily Blum at 3/22/23

The Purpose of the Species Survival Plan

A Species Survival Plan (SSP) is a program implemented by zoos and aquariums to help ensure the long-term survival of certain species. These programs are typically run by the individuals who work at facilities within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and are designed to manage the breeding and care of species in captivity.The goal of an SSP is to maintain a genetically diverse and self-sustaining population of a particular species in captivity. This is done by carefully managing the... Read More
Posted by Emily Long at 2/21/23

Why Do Turtles Live So Long?

Goober, our resident Aldabra tortoise, weighs on average around 450 pounds and is approximately 70-years-old. His age is only an estimate, because when he arrived at the Zoo in 1968, he was already an adult. Giant tortoises are the longest-lived land animals, which means he might have another century in him! Currently, the oldest living land animal is a Seychelles giant tortoise named Jonathan who is 190 years old. But why do tortoises live so long? As a rough rule of thumb, animals with a s... Read More
Posted by Emily Long at 1/24/23

Florida Arbor Day: A Tribute to Trees

Trees around the world are essential to daily life and operations ranging from supporting wildlife to many commercial industries. Trees provide food, shade, habitat and materials. They help improve air and soil quality, while also contributing to aesthetics and outdoor recreational activities. Trees positively impact our lives in such a way that many countries globally recognize their importance in observance of Arbor Day, a holiday dedicated to the care and planting of trees! As zo... Read More
Posted by Emily Long at 1/18/23