Early European explorers to Australia were amazed at the sight of the black swan, with its brilliant red bill. (Typical European species are solid white or white with black markings and yellow bills.) See this striking bird and its mate on the pond near the Zoo’s barn.
Spring brings prairie dogs out of their dens. These mammals are impressive engineers—their complex burrow systems, known as towns, can cover 250 acres or more and a town’s underground nest chambers and tunnels can run as long as 112 feet and as deep as 16 feet. Around the entrances, prairie dogs build volcano-shaped mounds of dirt to prevent water from running down into the burrow.
Emus can’t fly, but they sure can run. Like ostriches and cassowaries, they are part of the ratite family, the most primitive of the modern birds. They hail from Down Under and reside here at the zoo on Discovery Trail with other Australian natives.
Meet the “Baroque Boys,” who, as zoo director Denise McClean says, “are a little bit beastie and a lot of noise.” The gaggle of five Sebastopol geese are named after classical composers Chopin, Scarlatti, Handel, Purcell, and Haydn. In addition to their boisterous manners, Sebastopols are known for their curly feathers.
Animal news and videos, special events & more