Monday, June 23, 2014

Ueno Zoo Part V: Vivarium

Japanese giant salamanders were an appropriate entrance exhibit for the Ueno Zoo's vivarium, though my photo of one turned out less than stellar due to reflective glass.

Easily the best-decorated giant salamander exhibit I've ever seen (at least aesthetically)!

There were a number of smaller displays nearby (mostly highlighting reptile and amphibian species with unusual adaptations), but there was substantial crowding in front of them so I didn't stick around for long.

The main display area here is set in a greenhouse with open- or mesh-topped habitats for the larger inhabitants and more traditional glass displays for smaller animals. The path was comparatively narrow as far as zoo trails go, so I found myself funneled along with little time to spend at each viewing area. As a result, I probably took fewer photos than I otherwise would have. The original Japanese name of the vivarium is the "amphibian and reptile house", but this may be a strange case of the translated name being more fitting, as there were also a few species of fish exhibited here. These are Australian lungfish.

An African dwarf crocodile.

A quince monitor. A new species for me, with some nice colors to boot!

A tomistoma or false gharial. It used to be that I never saw this species in zoos, but I've been to at least three zoos in recent years where they've been housed. While no longer as rare a sight as I remember it once being, its unusual morphology and striking color pattern retain their appeal.

A male leaf-nosed snake. While I'm not confident that this is a first for me, I only remember seeing this species in one of my children's books.

This picture I took to demonstrate what the general environment inside the greenhouse was like. There were some small free-flying birds around, as suggested by the presence of the birdhouse.

Unexpectedly, the end of the path was decorated with models of various fossil specimens! This one was the most recognizable among them (and most pertinent to this blog).

Outside the greenhouse, a room off to the side exhibited native Japanese reptiles and amphibians. I found this Chinese soft-shelled turtle with its head submerged underwater. I thought it was a somewhat humorous sight because, in a sense, it's the reverse of how one often sees soft-shelled turtles: submerged with their head reaching up towards the surface to snorkel. I suspect what it may have been doing though was quasi-urinating through its mouth!

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