Monday, June 18, 2012

Mixed species exhibit including tanagers and poison arrow frogs

This week in the Zoo-Biology-Group forum someone asked whether tanagers can be kept with poison arrow frogs.
Nuremberg zoo in Germany does keep them together in their newly opened (2011) Manatee House.

You can see the manatees in the center of the photo swimming in this arm of the pool; the animals are half hidden behind the water's reflection and the vegetation in the foreground. Frogs and birds and other animals share the above-water space with the visitors.

Water surface and land area amass to about 700 square meters (7500 square feet).

copyright Dr. Helmut Mägdefrau
A pair of Red-legged honeycreepers (Cyanerpes cyaneus)

A Turquoise tanager (Tangara mexicana) at the feeding station.

A honeycreeper and a turquoise tanager sharing space at the feeding station.

copyright Dr Helmut Mägdefrau
 Meanwhile in the underbrush:  a golden poison dart frog  (Phyllobates terribilis)

An Anthony's Poison Arrow Frog  (Epipedobates anthonyi) is sitting on the visitor path.

I could hear the frogs during my visits and their calls created a tropical and exotic flair. So even if you can't see these animals they help to enhance the experience for the visitors.

Of course they are a real hit when the show up.
I remember a bunch of visitors hovering around the frog with fascination and concern: Will somebody step on it? - So far I haven't heard that this has happened.
You might have to click on the photo to enlarge it to see the golden poison dart frog at the lower right half of the photos.

The birds breed, and so do the frogs. In the photo above you can see tadpoles swimming in the water bowl on the far left, and an adult frog sits about mid center. Click on the image to enlarge. 

There is one more frog species and a couple more bird species sharing the Manatee House.
copyright Dr Helmut Mägdefrau
The Red-eyed Treefrog (Agalychnis callidryas), stands alone as the only frog species in the Manatee-House that is not part of the poison dart frog family (Dendrobatidae). I didn't hear or see it, probably because it is nocturnal; I have Dr. Helmut Mägdefrau to thank for the cool photo above.

As for the other birds, there is the Croaking Ground Dove (Columbina cruziana), of which I couldn't get a photo but I could hear at times, and a pair of  Ringed Teals (Callonetta leucophrys).

On the mammal side:
copyright Dr Helmut Mägdefrau
Two bat species have their home in the Manatee-House. Above a Pallas's long-tongued bat (Glossophaga soricina) eating nectar, something most visitors won't see, but you do see them hanging on the ceiling near the entrance as shown in the photo below.

Photo above: Visitors are standing in the entrance amongst a tangle of vines (real vines, but dead) and are pointing out the bats to each other.
The white-faced sakis (Pithecia pithecia) can go all over the Manatee House but they prefer one corner near the leaf cutter ants' nests.
Visitors can come very close to the monkeys, like in the photo above, where they are not further than 5 feet away. I had one jump over my head about 2 feet away.

There are other animal species and of course, there are manatees  (Trichechus manatus). I was part of the design team and I plan on following up this blog entry with some of the other features and species of the Manatee-House and especially with photos that show the underwater viewing.