Monday, April 10, 2017

Smithsonian National Zoo, Chapter 9

Okay, Amazonia was a freaking revelation!  I had no idea that this was part of the Smithsonian National Zoo.  I've visited this place many times over the 23 years I've lived here and that about as along as this structure has also been here.  It's tucked away in the bottom most part of the zoo.  Unless you pay to park in the one of the two lower lots, you're hiking down into a valley and then back up a veritable mountain to have the experience.  And I'm going to tell you this right now--it's worth it!  If only I had known, and you can better believe that I'm coming be back.  There are ground floors of exhibits of amphibians with an emphasis on the poison dart frog species now extinct in the wild due to the human introduced fungus from Africa, but not exclusively.  On the next level, you have a room with tropical fish aquariums, and then access to the subterranean water features of the jungle above, as well as, additional large fish/reptile aquariums.  From here go up another story and enter a level of Amazon jungle with flora and fauna of all sorts: fish, birds, reptiles, and mammals.  It's a freaking feast for the senses.

So I'll do my best to sort out the species you're about to see:  There are Poison Dart Frogs: Blue Poison Dart Frogs, Dyeing Poison Dart Frogs, Green & Black Poison Dart Frog, Panamanian Golden Poison Dart Frog, Fowler's Toad, Western Tiger Salamander, and the African Clawed Frog.  After this you will see a White-eared Titi Monkey and a Rosetta Spoonbill.
Blue Poison Dart FrogDendrobates tinctorius azureus
Dyeing Poison Dart FrogDendrobates tinctorius

Green & Black Poison Dart FrogDendrobates auratus

Panamanian Golden Poison Dart Frog, Atelopus zeteki
This beautiful animal is now extinct in the wild thanks to a fungus introduced by humans.  Zoos are not a luxury.  They are our last response to our own destructive presence in this world.
Fowler's Toad, Anaxyrus fowleri

Western Tiger Salamander, Ambystoma mavortium
African Clawed Frog, Xenopus laevis
The entire area of the center is a living laboratory of amphibian study and education.  I was stunned by this discovery and thrilled, too, of course!
 Above, you enter a world full of flora and some fauna from the amazon with the added comfort that there are not swarms of insects or pesky poisonous arachnids, no swarms of fire ants, bird eating tarantulas, and none of the oppressive humidity and heat.  It's jungle lite.

White-eared Titi Monkey, Callicebus donacophilus

Below in the enormous viewing tanks you can see all many of aquatic life native to the rivers of Amazonia.

Roseate Spoonbill,  Platalea ajaja

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