Brooklyn, NY – May, 2010. Come meet the night shift at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Prospect Park Zoo – during the day. A group of nocturnal critters has joined the animals featured in the Amazing Animals section of the zoo – an area that focuses on animal adaptations.
Two species of porcupines, African brush tailed and South American prehensile tailed dwell here, each paired with another interesting nocturnal animal. A small group of Rodrigues fruit bats, one of the larger bats from the Mauritius Islands, can be seen so close, you’ll understand why they’re nicknamed “flying foxes.” Rounding out the exhibit are a family of Malagasy jumping rats, a pair of pygmy loris and a pair of brush tailed bettongs. The bettongs pictured here are marsupials, or pouched mammals, and are the smallest of the kangaroo family. They are a critically endangered species due to introduced predators.
As nocturnal animals, these creatures have some distinct advantages over their diurnal (day active) counterparts. Since fewer animals are nocturnal, being awake at night allows for less competition for resources like food and water. Nocturnal flowers often rely on alluring scents to attract pollinators like fruit bats. Nocturnal primates like the pygmy loris use this adaptation to help them hide from predators.
“The trick to viewing these special animals is to allow your eyes time to adjust to the dim light,” explained Zoo Director Denise McClean. “Keep looking in the exhibit and in a few minutes, you’ll spot the animals if they haven’t spotted you first.”
Docents are stationed in the area on weekends to help visitors learn more about the wild side of life at night.
Contact: Fran Hackett - firstname.lastname@example.org, 718-265-3428, or 718-399-7339
Wildlife Conservation Society Prospect Park Zoo – Open every day of the year. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for seniors 65 and older, $3 for kids 3-12, free for children under 3. Zoo hours are 10am to 5pm weekdays, and 10am – 5:30pm weekends, April through October, and 10am – 4:30pm daily, November through April. The Prospect Park Zoo is located at 450 Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. For further information, call 718-399-7339 or visit www.prospectparkzoo.com.
The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.
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