Caracal at the National Zoo
The Caracal is an African lynx (also known as desert lynx) mostly originating from North Africa and the Arabian peninsula. Though they are part of the Great Cats exhibit they are housed in the small mammals house.
They are small, but you can tell they are feline, and dangerous when they open their mouth and show their teeth. The thing you notice the most really are the ears. Their long, oddly shaped ears are visually intriguing, but also serve an important practical purpose. The caracal is mainly a nighttime hunters, so their hearing is more important in pinpointing the location of prey.
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Located in the Small Mammal House, the zoo has an armadillo. The proper name is the Southern Three Banded Armadillo (Tolypeutes matacus). Though we have other types of armadillos here in the US, this particular type originates from the wetlands of South America (range is Paraguay, Argentina Brazil and Bolivia). Akin to the anteater and sloth, this animal digs into insect colonies for its food.
I found it interesting that this is the only species of armadillo that can roll itself up into a ball when its scared, that way its underside is not easily reachable to predators.
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The Great Ape House is home to the Zoos' 6 orangutans. This is always a popular exhibit. The last time I went some of the animals were quite sedentary, preferring to lay back and chew on something while the visitors were making funny faces and jumping up and down like you know whats.
The orangutan is solitary in the wild but here they live in small groups.
Always a good bit of fun to see their expressions and reactions to people
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Golden Tamarins at the National Zoo
The golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia) is a rather rare, endangered small monkey. It is native to the eastern forests of Brazil. Due to the loss of their habitat, living near the heavily populated coast of Brazil, there were only some 200 of them in the wild as of the 1970s. Today, thanks to conservation efforts, there are some 1600.
They are small, but lively little guys, noticable more than anything else due to their color and their beautiful long tail.
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Poor Lonely Beaver
We only saw one lone beaver in the pool during our visit, but the zoo actually has five beavers. The adult male is Cleaver (Ha ha Beaver Cleaver) and the adult female is Granby; they have three offspring named Chipper, Buzz, and Willow.
Zebra, not a Zonkey!
The zoo has two Grevy’s zebras, both male, named Gumu and Dante. The National Zoo has only male zebras, and it keeps these animals until they reach adulthood, then there are sent to other locations for breeding.
Did you know zebras and donkeys can be bred together, with the resulting offspring called a zonkey? Zonkeys, like mules, are typically infertile.
The zoo has two gray seals: a male named Gunnar and a female named Selkie. Both were born in Iceland in 1973, and the male now weighs about 500 pounds while the female is quite a bit smaller at 320 pounds.
The National Zoo has two bald eagles, a female named Sam and a male named Tioga. Sam is from Alaska, and was placed in capativity in 1986 after being found with a gunshot would to her wing. Tioga is from Pennsylvania, and he had a broken shoulder in 1998 when he was brought into captivity. Neither bird can fly.
Haloko – female
Mandara - female
Kigali – female
Baraka - male
Kwame – male
Kojo – male
A new baby gorilla was born in mid January 2009, and it was less than a month old during my visit.
The red pandas have had a rough history at the zoo; in 2003 the pair of pandas died after ingesting rat poison, part of a wider series of deaths over a two year period.
Now there are two new pandas, and they might be in the mood for mating.
Currently the zoo has two adult giant pandas, female Mei Xiang and male Tian Tian, and their three-year-old offspring, Tai Shan. The adults are on loan from China for about $10 million over ten years. Tai Shan is just the third giant panda born in a US zoo that has survived into adulthood, but he is owned by China as part of the agreement and will eventually be returned.
The government of China donated the first two giant pandas, Ling-Ling (female) and Hsing-Hsing (male), to the zoo two months after President Richard Nixon's historic 1972 trip to China. Ling-Ling died in 1992 and Hsing-Hsing in 1999 without producing any cubs that survived into adulthood.
Cheetahs in the zoo
Three male and two female cheetahs live at the Zoo's Cheetah Conservation Station. The three young male cheetah are brothers.
Tumai and Amani are adult female cheetahs. Draco, Granger, and Zabini, are the males.
The cheetahs are located next to the maned wolves, endangered scimitar-horned oryx, Grevy's zebras, and in the yard next to the Maned Wolves Emus and Wallabies from Australia.
Four Sumatran-Bornean hybrid orangutans and two Bornean orangutans live at the Great Ape House and Think Tank. The orangutans can travel on an outdoor cable crossway across the zoo to the Think Tank building.
Batang is a female Bornean orangutan, and Kyle is a male Bornean. Bonnie and Lucy are hybrid females. Iris and Kiko are male hybrid orangutan.
Happy the Nile hippopotamus lives in the elephant House along with the zoo's Asian Elephant family, a pygmy hippopotamus, and capybara. The zoo's pygmy hippos are descended from a famous pygmy hippo named Billy, who was a pet of president Calvin Coolidge. Rhinoceros and Giraffe were once kept in this building, but the zoo moved them to another zoo to make room for its baby male Asian elephant, Kandula. On June 22, 2006, the zoo announced plans for a new $60 million state-of-the-art Asian elephant exhibit, called "Elephant Trails."
Features a nocturnal room for kiwis and a free-flight room for tropical birds. Outside walkways pass yards of larger birds, such as cassowaries, cranes, flamingos, and king vultures.