- Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat
- Vampire Bat
- Two-toed Sloth
- Three-Banded Armadillo
- Southern Tamandua
- Spotted Genet
- Slender Loris
- Six-banded Armadillo
- Short-tailed Opossum
- Seba's short-tailed bat
- Pygmy Loris
- Prehensile-tailed Porcupine
- Owl Monkey
- Naked Mole Rats
- Mongoose Lemur
- Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec
- Greater Bushbaby
- Egyptian Rousettus Bats
- Bulldog Bat
- African Crested Porcupine
- Prehensile-Tail Skink
- Blind Cave Fish
Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat
Southern hairy-nosed wombats are nocturnal marsupials from arid regions of South Australia. Unlike their relatives, the bare-nosed wombats, the southern and northern hairy-nosed wombats have noses covered in fur.
About the Memphis Zoo Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat
"Kindilan's" favorite place to snooze is in a 55 gallon garbage can. When he is in the mood, he loves a good back scratch. He also enjoys hanging out in the Animals of the Night kitchen area with his Zookeepers. Kindilan has a very independent personality. If he isn’t visible, he is often sleeping in his den. He shares his display with Shemp the bear cuscus and Cinco the agouti.They are found in southern Australia.Their stocky bodies and large toenails make them well adapted for digging. They excavate large burrows that are sometimes used by other animals as well. When they feel threatened, they will “butt-bump”, ramming their backside into foes.
To keep the joeys protected while the moms dig, the pouch of the southern hairy-nosed wombat is directed backwards.
Warren? Who’s Warren? Warrens are the complex burrows dug by wombats. These burrows have several entrances and are only as wide as the wombat. They can be up to 100 feet long and six feet deep. Several wombats live in each warren.
Southern hairy-nosed wombats are such good diggers that they have the nickname “Bulldozer of the Bush.”
Vampire bats live in colonies of up to 2000 bats in the tropics of Mexico, Central and South America. Most of the colonies are closer to 100 bats.
About the Memphis Zoo Vampire Bats
We have nicknamed one of our vampire bats "Vladimir." He or she, usually hops up close to the food bowls and waits patiently as we pour their cow's blood. All of the other vampire bats wait until we are out of sight before they get their blood meal. The vampire bat colony is fed beef blood twice a day. Beef has seemed to be their preferred blood type. Vampire bats will share their food! If another member of the group misses a meal another bat will share their blood meal by regurgitating the blood for their friend to consume. Their saliva contain an anticoagulant that prevents the blood from clotting. They do not suck the blood but they actually lick it after making a small wound with their teeth
The anticoagulant protein in vampire bat saliva could actually save your life one day. This enzyme keeps the blood from a vampire bat bite from clotting, so that the bat can continue lapping up its meal. Scientists have now developed a drug called Draculin that can be used to dissolve blood clots in the brain of stroke victims.
Vampire bats and humans are the only animals known to feed other adults of their species. Humans normally take a casserole, but a vampire bat will regurgitate blood for another vampire bat that was unable to hunt for their meal.
Vampire bats don’t actually suck the blood of the livestock – or humans – on which they feed. Rather, they use their razor sharp teeth to cut a small slit in the skin then lap up the blood from the wound. Many times the victim never even knows.
Two-toed sloths spend their entire lives hanging from tree branches. They are known as the being the world's slowest mammal, moving at such a slow pace that algae grows on their coats. The Memphis Zoo currently has three Linné's two-toed sloths, "Marilyn," "Sparky," and our newest addition, "Lua.". Lua is the four year old daughter of Sparky and Marilyn.Sparky and Marilyn share their display with Val the kinkajou, Jackie the armadillo, and Seis the agouti. Lua shares her exhibit with “Buttercup” the owl monkey and “Beau” the six-banded armadillo. Lua had to be hand raised by her keepers because her mother was unable to produce milk. Sloths usually only go to the ground to urinate and defecate, this only happens a few times every month. In the wild algae will grow on their fur and houses several species of insects and aiding their ability to blend into the trees.
Three banded armadillos are native to the open grassy lands and marshes of South America. They are related to sloths and anteaters.
About The Memphis Zoo Three-Banded Armadillo
We have one male adult named "Tank." He loves to grab shoes, ankles and hands with his long sharp claws. At times, he enjoys back scratches and even an occasional tummy rub. Three-banded armadillos get their name from the three bands along their back and are the only species able to roll up completely into a ball. The bony plates making up the armadillos shell is made from keratin. The pattern on their head plate is as unique to them as a human fingerprin. They are native to South America grasslands and marshes. They are insectivores meaning they consume insects such as beetle larvae and termites. They are primarily a solitary species.
The head plate is unique to each armadillo, like a fingerprint.
Sleeping Beauty? Three banded armadillos are known to sleep up to 16 hours each day – usually borrowing the burrow of another animal.
Contrary to popular belief, not all armadillos are able to encase themselves in their shells. In fact, only the three-banded armadillo can, curling its head and back feet and contorting its shell into a hard ball that confounds would-be predators.
Southern tamanduas, or lesser anteaters, are native to much of South America. They can be active during the day or at night depending on the individual animal.
About The Memphis Zoo Tamandua
"Mary Anne" becomes a gourmet cole slaw maker when her Zookeepers give her a head of cabbage with a hint of mealworms. She is also skilled at mulch making when they give her a rotted log. Mr. Wendel is our resident tamandua. We aren’t exactly sure how old he is, as he was found wandering the streets of Houston, however, he is an adult. His favorite food is waxworms, and every now and then he sleeps underneath his food bowl.Tamanduas are also called lesser anteaters! They don’t have very good vision, but they do have a keen sense of smell, which they use to sniff out insects.They have a prehensile tail to aid them in climbing, and their long front claws are used for digging up insects, climbing, and self defense.
Indigenous natives of Costa Rica believe that burying a tamandua under your hut will make your sons brave warriors.
Tamanduas have thick, course, crinkled fur that protects against angry ants as the tamanduas make a snack of an ant hill.
Known as the “stinkers of the forest”, tamanduas can emit a foul scent similar to a skunk when they feel threatened.
Large spotted genets, or Cape genets, are found in forests, woodlands, and grasslands in many parts of the continent of Africa and also in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Portugal, France, and Spain.
About The Memphis Zoo Spotted Genet
Our genet, "Luke," is believed to be the oldest genet in captivity at the age of 26. He is named after the character in Star Wars. Jojo has a slightly darker coat than Jennet. He also has two notches in his left ear. Both love pinkie mice and superworms.The patterns on a genets fur is as individual to them as fingerprints. Jojo will stand up on his front paws to scent mark vertically using his anal glands. Despite their physical and behavioral similarities to felines, genets are actually part of the Viverridae family related to binturongs and civets
Known for stalking and pouncing on their prey, genets will jump straight down from a tree branch several feet above their next meal and immediately jump straight back up to the limb to enjoy their meal in solitary peace.
If it looks like a cat and sounds like a cat… even though they are about the size of a house cat and can be heard purring and hissing, genets are actually not felines. They are viverrids like their Animals of the Night neighbor the binturong.
Genets have well developed musk glands as well as anal glands. They mark their territories by doing handstands next to a tree or rock.
The Slender Loris is a nocturnal primate found in the forests, rainforests, and swamps of Sri Lanka and southern India.
About the Memphis Zoo Slender Lorises
After a main course of bugs, our slender lorises enjoy fruits like papaya and melon for dessert. Our slender lorises are "Kumar," "Willow," "Jung," "Yew" and "Vyvy." These small, shy prosimians are related to the pygmy slow loris, but have long slender limbs. The Memphis Zoo is one of the few zoos to display this species. Our pair is very shy, but they can be seen hiding near their log hide or amongst the foliage of their display. This species is native to the island of Sri Lanka. When threatened, they freeze and stay motionless, hoping that the threat will go away. If this doesn’t work, they emit a stinky odor and growl to try to discourage predators.
Even infant slender lorises are able to stay completely still when they feel that they are in danger.
The slender loris is incapable of jumping but uses his long limbs and human-like hands to move from branch to branch.
Though they spend their waking hours foraging in a solitary fashion, during the day the slender loris rolls up in a tight ball and sleeps high up in the trees in groups of two to four.
Six-banded armadillos are found in the grasslands of South America. They are named from the six to eight bands – called scutes - found on their backs.
About the Memphis Zoo Six-Banded Armadillos
"Beauregard" and "Jackie" are a successful breeding pair. The both enjoy back scratches from anyone and anything. They can be seen helping their keepers open bags of shavings and trying to see what their keepers have in their cleaning buckets. Beau shares a display with Lua the sloth and Buttercup the owl monkey. Jackie lives with Val the kinkajou, Seis the agouti, and our other two sloths. Beau enjoys making nests out of the shavings in his display. Jackie’s favorite time of the day is mealtime. After she has her breakfast, she likes to sleep in her log. Six-banded armadillos are native to South America. Their large claws are mostly used to dig their burrows, but they will use them to defend themselves.These armadillos can be surprisingly good swimmers and swallow air to help them float.
Armadillos are most closely related to anteaters and sloths.
Six-banded armadillos are normally solitary unless they gather with friends to feast on a carcass.
Armadillo is Spanish for “little armored one”
Short-tailed OpossumMore info coming soon!
Seba's short-tailed bat
Seba's short-tailed bats are native to the forests of Central and South America. These small, fruit-eating bats communicate to each other through a wide range of sounds, from a friendly warble to a loud threatening screech. These bats are the smallest and most numerous in the bat flight. They are omnivores and eat fruit and insects. We feed our bats a gel that is cut into small pieces. This gel contains extra vitamins and minerals. They are native to Central and South America! If there isn’t enough food, they can enter a state of torpor to conserve energy. Bats are important pollinators and seed dispersers for many species of plants. They are also critical to controlling insect numbers
Pygmy lorises are small tree-dwelling primates that have opposable thumbs and very strong hands and feet. Their opposable thumbs make it very easy for them to climb the trees, and their strong hands allow them to hang from branches for long periods without tiring. These shy primates can be hard to tell apart, but they have different facial markings. Samper has wider, more triangular “eyebrows”. Like many of our other prosimians, the pygmy slow lorises enjoy eating insects. They are native to Vietnam, Laos, and parts of China. When threatened, they can use a secretion from a gland near their elbows mixed with their saliva to coat their teeth and give them a venomous bite. They will also lick the fur of their babies with this toxic saliva to keep them safe from predators. These are the most endangered species of non-lemur prosimian.
Prehensile-tailed porcupines are nocturnal vegetarian rodents with sharp spines and large, round noses.These porcupines use their prehensile tails for grasping and hanging. Tilly and Huck are a newly introduced mated pair. Due to his age Huckleberry is much smaller than Tilly. Huck's favorite treats are walnuts and corn while Tilly prefers peanuts.Babies are reddish-orange with soft spines at birth, the quills typically harden within a week. They are an arboreal species native to South American forest. As stated in their names this species has a prehensile tail they use for gripping while moving along branches. This species sexual organs are internal so zoos use DNA extracted from a quill to determine the gender. No porcupine is able to shoot their quills but they do shed them similar to humans shedding hair.
Owl monkeys are small tree-dwelling monkeys native to Central America. They have large eyes, small, seemingly hidden ears and they are one of few kinds of monkeys that are unable to see color. Buttercup shares a display with Lua the sloth and Beau the six banded armadillo. Bubbles lives with Ann the mongoose lemur and Tank the three banded armadillo. Both girls are fairly skittish, but Buttercup is the more outgoing of the two. Bubbles enjoys Ann’s company: the two of them can be seen sitting or sleeping near each other.Owl monkeys are native to Central and South America. They live in small family groups consisting of adult parents and their offspring. Owl monkeys are the only truly nocturnal monkeys. Most other monkeys are diurnal or crepuscular.
Naked Mole Rats
Found burrowed underground in the grasslands of eastern Africa, naked mole rats are neither mole nor rat. They are a relative of the porcupine.
About the Memphis Zoo Naked Mole Rats
We have a hard working group of naked mole rats. Sometimes you can see them carrying different types of bedding we offer them back to their nest box. All of our naked mole rats are adults. Our colony has no queen. These blind, hairless rodents spend their entire lives in underground burrows. Ours have a system of tunnels connected to various “boxes”. These “boxes” serve different purposes. One is for food storage, another is where they tend to sleep, and yet another box is the “bathroom box”. These rodents are eusocial and have a social structure more like ants and bees. Only one female, the queen, breeds. The other females and the males do work around the colony such as taking care of the queen and her offspring, foraging for food, and digging tunnels. They are long lived for rodents, and can live as long as 30 years. While they cannot see, they have very keen senses of smell and touch.
Though a colony can have about 300 members living together, they all use the same latrine. Can you imagine the line?
Naked mole rats might not win “Most Beautiful”, but they would be in tight contention for “Most Interesting”. They are the only mammals that are eusocial or live in a colony similar to bees – the highest level of social organization for animals.
Naked mole rats are not actually naked. They have around 100 very fine hairs on their body that help them feel what is around them.
Mongoose lemurs, like all lemurs, are native to Madagascar. These animals live in the trees and love to eat flowers. They move from tree to tree looking for flowers and pollinating the plants as they go. Ann is a sweet elderly lemur who enjoys spending time with her owl monkey friend, Bubbles. She loves banana, and will often descend to the lower level of the display to steal some from Tank the armadillo’s food dish.They live in the deciduous forests of Madagascar. Wild mongoose lemurs are active at varying times during the year, though they tend to be more nocturnal during the dry months. Females have white fur under their chins, while males have reddish-orange fur.
Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec
The lesser hedgehog tenrec is very similar to the American hedgehog. Both are nocturnal and curl themselves into balls when they feel threatened. However, there are differences between the two. The lesser hedgehog tenrec is smaller and grows to no more than 7 inches long at maturity.
Kinkajous are small monkey-like animals that use their long tongues to extract honey from hives. Although they resemble primates, they are actually related to racoons. We have three kinkajous in the nocturnal building. Two of them are housed together: “Palmer”, a 17 year old male and “Semme”, a 19 year old female. The third, a 20 year old female named “Valentine” (Val), lives in the large display with an agouti, six-banded armadillo, and 2 sloths. Their favorite foods are fruit. They are found in South American neotropical forests. Kinkajous are not monkeys and are actually in the raccoon family. Their prehensile tail acts as another limb, making them excellent climbers.They have a long tongue that they use to get nectar, sap, and honey, giving them the nickname “honey bear”.
Also known as the Greater Galagos, the Greater Bushbaby is the largest of the bushbaby species and can be found in the forests of southern Africa.
About the Memphis Zoo Greater Bushbaby
We have a hand-raised bushbaby named "Chewbacca." He's affectionally known as "Chewy." He can be seen taking a ride on his keeper’s shoulders hoping for a chin scratch as they clean his exhibit. There are currently four bushbabies in the nocturnal house. “Yoda” and “Obi-Wan” are 6 year old twin males. “Dean” and “Thandi” are a mated pair that share their exhibit with the aardvarks. “Dean” is a 10 year old male and “Thandi” is an 11 year old female. Wax worms are their favorite treats. They are native to the coastlines of east Africa. Bushbabies are not monkeys, they are actually a part of a primate group called prosimians that include lemurs and lorises. They mark their territory by urinating on their hands and feet and spreading it on everything they touch. This is called ‘urine-washing’
Bushbabies have large eyes that help them see when they hunt at night. This might be the reason that they are sometimes known as nagapies or little night monkeys.
To help with grooming, bushbabies have a second, smaller tongue underneath their primary one.
Bushbabies get their name because their vocalizations sound just like a baby crying.
Egyptian Rousettus Bats
Egyptian rousettus bats, also known as Egyptian fruit bats, are common throughout Africa and Asia. These bats are smaller than most other bat species. They use echolocation to locate prey by clicking their tongues and listening for distinctive echoes. They are fed a mixture of fruit including strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, oranges and grapes but banana is their favorite. They are distinguished from the other bats in the flight by their large size and fox-like faces. Bats of this genus are the only fruit-eating bats that use echolocation to locate their food. They do not like to share their food, they will actually steal it from other bats of the same colony. Some colonies will have thousands of bats
The chinchilla is a small rodent native to the Andes Mountains. They live in colonies of up to 100 animals and stay hidden in rock crevices during the day. However when night falls, chinchillas come out in order to search for plants to eat.
Bull dog bats are one of only a few bat species that are piscivorous, or fish-eating. These bats hunt using a method called echolocation. They emit a high-pitched noise while they fly over water. These noises create a distinctive echo when they are bounced off the fins of shallow-swimming nearby fish. When the bull dog bat hears this echo, it swoops down and impales its prey.
The Binturong is a South Asian animal that is unlike any other. It has a cat-like face and a bear-like body, with a tail as a long as its frame. These exotic animals sleep on tree branches and mostly eat fruit.
Bonzai is very playful and also enjoys watching visitors and his favorite treat is banana. They are found throughout Southeast Asia. They spend the majority of their time in the treetops using their prehensile tails to help stay balanced.They are one of only two species of carnivores with prehensile tails. Even though they are classified as carnivores they primarily eat fruits, only eating small amounts of insects, birds, or rodents. Even though they are often called bearcats they are not related to bears or cats. They are most closely related to civets and genets!
The Agouti is a large guinea pig-like rodent native to the rain forests of Central America. These animals have very strong and sharp incisors, or front teeth, which they use to gnaw on seeds and nuts.
Cinco is found in the exhibit with the wombat and bear cuscus. Seis shares an exhibit with two of our sloths, a kinkajou, and a six banded armadillo and they both love corn! They are large rodents native to South America. They can be classified as a keystone species due to its role in distributing Brazil nut seeds. Primary diet is seeds, fruit, leaves, and roots but they have been known to consume insect larvae when other food is scarce. They are actually crepuscular so they are most active at dawn and dusk. They form monogamous pairs and are able to jump six feet in the air
African Crested Porcupine
African Crested Porcupines are rodents found in most of Africa and in Italy. They are nocturnal and are known to travel in pairs.
About the Memphis Zoo African Crested Porcupines
We have a mother-daughter pair – "Dixie" and "Zoey." They both love corn and apples. Zoey usually leads the charge to their food bowls.
Porcupines are excellent swimmers.
When angered, a porcupine will stomp its feet, rattle its quills and run backward toward an enemy. Contrary to popular belief, he won’t actually shoot his quills, but he can do a lot of damage by stabbing them into a predator.
A group of porcupines is called a prickle.
Boss has a slightly darker coat than Sunshine
The word aardvark means “Earth pig” in Afrikaans
Are actually related to elephants and mantees not anteaters
Insectivores that eat approximately 50,000 termites and ants every night
Found in savanna and grasslands throughout Africa
Our Aardvarks, Boss and Sunshine are 25 and 17 years old. Boss has a slightly darker coat than Sunshine. The word aardvark means “Earth pig” in Afrikaans. They are actually related to elephants and manatees, not anteaters. They are insectivores that eat approximately 50,000 termites and ants every night. They can be found in savanna and grasslands throughout Africa.
Prehensile-tail skinks (a.k.a. Solomon Island Skinks or Monkey-tail Skinks) are native to the tropical forests of the Solomon Islands.
About the Memphis Zoo Prehensile-tail Skinks
These animals are very territorial. They live in family groups in the wild and will lunge towards their keepers to “protect” their exhibits. The female on display gave birth to twins a few years ago.
When provoked they will stand on their hind legs, hiss loudly and bite.
Prehensile-tail skinks are ovoviviparous, meaning females produce eggs which then hatch inside their body. After six to seven months the baby is born. Baby prehensile-tail skinks can weigh from one third to one half of the mother’s body weight.
These are the only lizards with a prehensile tail.
Blind Cave Fish
Astyanax fasciatus mexicanus
Although Blind Cave Fish are born with eyes, the pitch-black environment of the caves that they live in makes their eyes useless. After about two weeks their once functioning eyes shrink and become covered in tissue. Use it or lose it.
About the Memphis Zoo’s Blind Cave Fish
Blind Cave Fish can form schools of up to several hundred fish. This species of fish have adapted to its life in dark caves by having a more sensitive lateral line system that detects changes in water pressure and vibrations. They are found in underground caverns and cave throughout the southern United States and Mexico. They are also typically found in larger schools.
Even though they live in total darkness, Blind Cave Fish get very little sleep.
There is no pigment in the scales of the Blind Cave Fish. This creates a pinkish hue due to the blood vessels under the skin.
Blind Cave Fish use their sense of smell to find food such as animal and plant remains that have swept into caves and even bat droppings that fall from the ceiling of the caves.