Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ueno Zoo Part VI: Small Mammal House

A cotton-top tamarin.

This zoo might have a larger collection of small rodents than any other that I've been to. This is a Japanese grass vole.

A large Japanese field mouse. (Does that mean there's also a small Japanese field mouse? The answer is yes. In fact, there was a display for some next to this one, but I was unable to get satisfactory pictures of it.) You might notice the PhyloPic t-shirt I'd been wearing reflected by the glass in this photo.

Some Cairo spiny mice.

A Pallas's cat, a somewhat peculiar-looking wild cat from the Central Asian steppes.

Some Ryukyu flying foxes.

Up to this point, many of the other species here had overlapped with the roster I regularly see at the National Zoo. But my visit wasn't quite over yet...

The pathway detoured outdoors and sloped downwards toward the lower floor of the Small Mammal House, where the nocturnal exhibits were kept. Along the way there was a pen for a North American porcupine.

The sloping walkway was decorated with photographs of juvenile animals that had been born here at the small mammal house, in case the adult inhabitants weren't already cute enough to induce diabetes.

A kinkajou, an arboreal frugivore closely related to raccoons.

A short-beaked echidna. (A moment of silence for Victor the echidna, the oldest resident mammal of the San Diego Zoo at the time of his death. I'm glad I got to see him one last time before he passed.)

A Japanese giant flying squirrel. Several individuals lived in a fairly large exhibit, which they shared with a Japanese hare. (Is there also a Japanese dwarf flying squirrel? The answer is yes, and they are famously adorable. As a matter of fact, there were some in a nearby display, but the viewing area was cluttered with the bodies of unprepared visitors suffering from heart attacks. I may have lied about that last part.)

A brush-tailed bettong. The one at the National Zoo is frequently a no-show (despite being kept in a dimly-lit habitat), but this one was quite active.

Some Seba's short-tailed bats.

Some common dormice. Although I didn't get pictures of any others, this zoo almost certainly has the biggest collection of dormice species I'm aware of. Dormice are more closely related to squirrels than to mice.

Also worthy of mention were the harvest mice (which are true mice), which I spent a long time unsuccessfully trying to take photos of.

A group of lesser bushbabies.

They lived alongside yet another rodent, but one significantly larger than them, a springhare.

One of the best species (in my opinion) was saved for last: the spectral tarsier! Tarsiers are the only primates that are entirely carnivorous and are very rare in North American zoos.


  1. Now I'M jealous;
    I'm from the UK, we have some animals you either don't have or are decreasing quickly, surely in America (i.e Eastern Quoll, absent Drill, decreasing)
    And tarsiers! I'd missed my final chance after the last ones at the (closed) RSCC went to the Netherlands!

    1. Sorry to hear about the tarsiers. They used to have them at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (my first zoo!), but I don't remember seeing them, and they were long gone by the time I got to visit again.

      I've been fortunate enough to have done a good deal of traveling to many different zoos over the years, yet I've certainly had my share of "near misses" where a rarely-seen species refuses to show.

  2. I've seen lots of exotic animals, though:
    (animals not photographed are signed with an asterix (*))
    Short-Beaked Echidna - Paignton 2017
    Chinese Goral - Edinburgh 2016
    Koala - Edinburgh 2016
    Xenopus - Jerusalem Biblical 2016
    Urial - Riga 2015
    Striped Skunk - Crocodiles of the World 2016
    Thomson's Gazelle - Ramat Gan 2016*
    Dorca Gazelle - Marwell 2016/'17*
    Eastern Quoll - Bristol 2017
    New Guinea Ground Cuscus Bristol 2017
    Congo Buffalo - Marwell 2017
    Arabian Oryx - Marwell 2017
    Prevost's Squirrel - Ramat Gan 2016
    Drill - Edinburgh 2016
    I know I have more in the back..

    1. But isn't that a lot of exotic and rare sp.?

    2. Yes, it is. That's quite an impressive list.

  3. Also, my mother visited this same zoo, Ueno, and found 2 bird species which of ID I cannot make out. Will you please help me?

    1. Sure! The first one is a white-bellied go-away bird. The other is probably a narcissus flycatcher.

  4. Yep, I looked up and the second one loox like a Narcissus Flycatcher! thx!
    Matthew's Animals productions
    P.S. I'll tell you more I'm stumped on soon!