Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2012

Wonderfully Wild Wednesday: Waxy frogs

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications Introducing Wonderfully Wild Wednesday , where we’ll feature some fascinating wildlife adaptation each week. Let’s kick it off with one of the zoo’s newest residents—the waxy monkey frog. I don’t need to tell you that the waxy monkey frog is awesome. You can see that for yourself… But I will tell you that this frog—newly arrived to Woodland Park Zoo—is certainly unique among its amphibian brethren. Most frogs have moist skin that is susceptible to drying out when exposed to direct sun for too long. But the South American waxy monkey frog is uniquely adapted to take in rays, allowing it to make a niche for itself in the hot, dry environment of its native habitat in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay. So how does the waxy monkey frog do it? It’s in the name (well, the waxy part of the name, not the monkey part. We’ll get to the monkey part later). The waxy monkey frog comes complete with built-in sunblock, a waxy secretion

Happy 1st birthday, Evita!

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications How do you celebrate an ocelot’s 1st birthday? With a turkey cake and mouse candle, of course! Our little Evita is not quite so little anymore. To celebrate her turning 1 year old last week, Evita’s keepers prepared a lovely birthday surprise including some wrapped presents (boomer balls generously bought for Evita from our animal enrichment wishlist ), a papier mache ball with a mouse inside, and a heart-shaped frozen cake made from ground turkey, turkey breast and prepared feline diet with a “candle” that I hope to never see on any cake I eat—a mouse with its tail sticking up like a wick! Evita was slow to investigate her treats until keepers added an unexpected twist—a fresh pile of snow picked from just outside the Tropical Rain Forest exhibit. Evita’s exhibit is near 80 degrees year round, so the snow brought out her curiosity. She rubbed her head in the snow and batted at it with her paws before moving on to the other treat

Snow day - Part II

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications The zoo was closed to the public again today due to the snow and ice conditions. Here's a look at what was happening on grounds: We'll post to first thing in the morning tomorrow on whether we'll finally be able to open again. Until then, stay safe! Photos by Ryan Hawk and Carol Roll/Woodland Park Zoo.

Snow day at the zoo

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications The zoo may be closed today due to “Snowpocalypse,” but many of the animals are still out and about. Some animals retreat indoors or look for a warm spot to tuck themselves into to get out of the snow, while others—like our residents of the Northern Trail exhibit—are in their element. The first animals you encounter in the Northern Trail are the pack of four sister wolves—Doba, Shila, Aponi and Kaya. When we first approached the wolves this morning, they were beautiful to behold in their white fur coated in snow, an elk lounging in the background. But it wasn’t long before one of the wolves interrupted the still, idyllic portrait with a piercing howl. Then the wolves all began to vocalize together and play. They chased. And chased. Then took a break to nibble at the snow. We pulled ourselves away from the scene just long enough to see one of our grizzly bears shaking himself free of the snow piling onto his fur. The

CONTEST: Guess the weight of our hippos!

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications Lupe practicing on the scale. Photo by Ric Brewer/WPZ. Was losing weight your New Year's resolution? Well, for our hippos, it’s time to get on the scale! Lily (left) and Lupe (right) in the African Savanna. Photo by Dennis Dow/WPZ. We carefully monitor the weight of our animals and now that we have acquired a new scale to weigh our hippos, we’re holding a contest to see who can guess the combined weight of our graceful 33-year-old Water Lily and the lovely 12-year-old Guadalupe. The winner gets to go behind the scenes to meet the hippos up close! Guadalupe with a snack. Photo by Dennis Dow/WPZ. Beginning today, Washington state residents are invited to guess the COMBINED WEIGHT of both hippos by entering online at through midnight, January 27, 2012. The winning entry will be the closest to the combined weight (if more than one person gets it right, we’ll draw one random winner from those

Ultra awesome: Ultraviolet eyesight in animals

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications Roses are red, violets are blue…unless you’re a tetrachromat, it’s true. Apologies for the obvious segue to a post about color, but I couldn’t resist!  A blue bellied roller and a brightly colored orchid show us examples of some of the beautiful colors here at Woodland Park Zoo. Photos by Ryan Hawk and Kirsten Pisto/WPZ. Throughout the animal kingdom, there is enormous diversity in the structure and faculty of eyesight. Oftentimes, we relate our own human eyesight to the visual capabilities of animals, but most evidence points to the contrary: in fact, humans might be an underdog in visual perception. A rainbow sits over the North Meadow. Red has the longest wavelength and blue has the shortest. Photo by Dennis Conner/WPZ.   The human eye sees a wide range of what we call visual color, that is , measurable wavelengths in the range of about 390–700 nanometers. Our eyeballs have a ton of tiny little cones and rods in th