New York City Travel
Bronx Zoo reptile house and mammals exhibition    

A small elevation southeast of the Reptile House of the New York Zoological Park is the location of the so-called Alligator Pool, now given over to sea lions and penguins. The active and noisy California sea lions are always showing off here (as well as in their larger pool in Baird Court). They belong to the same family as the fur seals, but are of a different species.

The penguins exhibited are the small blackfooted penguins from the Cape of Good Hope.

Just southeast of the Reptile House is the Small Mammal House of New York Zoological Park, on the way to which the Wild Turkey Enclosure is observed on the right, where the king of American game birds occupies a quarter of an acre of wood and under-growth.

Among the mammals the open-air Puma and Lynx House immediately adjoins the Turkey Enclosure, and here the American puma or mountain lion paces restlessly to and fro. This animal, like the lynx, does not thrive in heated buildings. It is found in Florida, Texas and most of the western states, as well as in Central and South America, but it is by no means as dangerous to man as rumor relates.
Next door to the puma are two fine adult specimens of the Canadian lynx.

The Small Mammal House, although not the most showy, is from an educational standpoint one of the most interesting installations in the Park, containing species representing many_ different orders of mammals. The carnivorous mammals are extensively represented by members of the cat and dog families, including the rare and beautiful ocelot, the African serval, the civet-cat, jackals, raccoons and various wild dogs and foxes. Interesting rodents are the South American capybara, largest of all living rodents, and the brilliant Malabar squirrel.

Among the mammals are the Australian wombat and the opossum; and the edentates, or toothless mammals, make a good showing with the giant anteater, the curious banded armadillos and the sloths; perhaps the most interesting creature, the Echidna, or spiny anteater, belongs to the remarkable order of egg-laying mammals. This house contains about 200 cages, of varied type and size according to the occupant, but all with open-air yards attached.

Porcupines, badgers, the South American agouti and coati-mundi, tropical squirrels and rodents, and the young of many species such as bears and leopards, which require small quarters and special care, are to be found in this building, a good time to visit which is 1 P.M., when its inhabitants are fed. Each label bears a color band, a different color for each order of mammals, and a large key-label at each end of the hall makes classification into orders easy.

Connected by a central pavilion with the Small Mammal House is the Ostrich House of the New York Zoological Park, devoted for the most part to the large running birds, such as the ostriches, rheas, emus and cassowaries. The emus, however, now occupy a range and house adjoining the yaks, near which in the summer time the North African ostrich and certain of the cranes have ranges and quarters.
The South African ostrich, the great-billed rhea of Brazil, the Javan peacock, the African bustard, the curassows, cranes, the curious cassowaries, the well known snake-killing secretary bird, and other interesting species occupy the Ostrich House and its adjoining yards.

Flanking the west side of the Ostrich House are the quarters of the Burrowing Mammals (42 on map). This large and important group of animals comprises the squirrel, rabbit, rat, mouse, opossum and gopher families, the curious sewellel family and others; some of these are kept in the Small Mammal House. In summer certain families not properly belonging here, such as the raccoon dogs, swift foxes and others, occupy some of the yards. In winter all the burrowing mammals are transferred to the Small Mammal House.

Leaving these mammals quarters, the path proceeds south to the Antelope House (50 on map), where a finely equipped central building, heated in winter and provided all around with open-air corrals, accommodates the giraffes, a large and remarkable series of African antelopes and several Indian species.
Among these, the three-horned Nubian giraffes, the curious African gnus, the rare Beatrix antelope from Arabia and the Indian nilgai are especially interesting. The dromedary, or single-humped camel, also finds a home in the New York Zoological Park.


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