Animals at the Atlanta Zoo

by Nancy Hayden
The African elephant is one of Zoo Atlanta's residents.

The African elephant is one of Zoo Atlanta's residents.

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Zoo Atlanta developed from a small selection of animals rescued from a failed and bankrupt circus that held its last show in the Georgia city in 1889. Since April of that year, Atlanta's zoo has existed in Grant Park. The zoo started out with just a few animals and has since grown to become a home to a diverse collection of exotic animals from all over the world.


Zoo Atlanta is home to more than 40 different mammal species. Some of them are so endangered that soon they may no longer be found in the wild. The zoo's Asian Forest, for example, is home to Sumatran tigers and giant pandas, both of which are critically endangered. Orangutans, red pandas and clouded leopards also reside in this section. The African Rain Forest and Plains sections are home to some of the zoo's largest mammals such as the African elephant and the black rhino. Gorillas, lions, giraffes and zebras are also found in the African Plains area of the zoo.


Bird lovers will find more than 50 different species of birds at Zoo Atlanta. The world's largest bird, the ostrich, can be viewed in the African Plains section. Colorful species such as the Chilean flamingo, parakeets and cockatoos live at the zoo as do birds of prey such as owls and vultures. The exotic bird exhibit is one of the first areas visitors encounter when they first enter the zoo.


Zoo Atlanta has a large collection of native and exotic reptiles, with more than 100 different species. The impressive American alligator can be found in the World of Reptiles section and the Wonderful Wetlands habitat with the alligator snapping turtle. Snakes such as the deadly Gaboon viper can be viewed behind the safety of glass. In the Asian Forest section, the tenacious Komodo dragon can be viewed. For fans of snakes and lizards, the World of Reptiles exhibit is located at the very rear of the zoo.


Around 20 species of amphibians live alongside the reptiles in Zoo Atlanta's World of Reptiles exhibit. Species such as the Rabb's fringe-limbed tree frog, which may be extinct in the wild, reports Zoo Atlanta, can be viewed at the Amphibian Wall section. Along with around 40 other amphibian species, Rabb's frog was actually discovered by zoo staff during conservation visits to South America. Colorful and poisonous frogs such as the Panamanian golden frog are also on display.

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