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Category: AIYI

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

How We Help African Penguins in the Wild

African penguins are one of five out of the 18 species of penguins that are endangered. In Play Park, you can find the Magellanic penguins at our newly renovated Tuxedo Coast habitat. This is a least concern species that we use as an ambassador to help support the African penguins. Over the last century, human ocean activity has increased including the transportation of oil. South Africa has experienced five of the world’s 50 major recorded oil spills, making the country one of th... Read More
Posted by Emily Long at 12/22/22

Do All Porcupines Have Prehensile Tails?

With an oversized nose that feels like a marshmallow when booped, the prehensile-tailed porcupine stands out in the porcupine family. Like all the other 56 species of porcupines, the prehensile-tailed porcupine has quills for defense against predators, but few species are as skilled at climbing. Fifteen of the 16 New World porcupine have a prehensile tail. Unlike some of their cousins, this species can grasp and hold on to branches with all four feet as well as their tail. Like a fifth h... Read More
at 12/22/22