Creatures of the Night
Porcupines, sloths, and bats, oh my! The animals in this exhibit are from the jungles of Central and South America, more specifically from an area known as Amazonia. These Amazon animals are arboreal, meaning that they spend most of their lives in trees and make few trips to the ground, and nocturnal, meaning they are more active at night than during the day.
With sharp spines, a big, round nose, and a tail they can hang from, prehensile-tailed porcupines are nocturnal vegetarian rodents. They have short, thick spines, and their body color runs from yellowish to orange-rust to brown to almost black. They weigh 4 to 11 pounds. Their bodies are 12- to 24-inches-long, and their tails are almost as long as their bodies, adding another 10 to 20 inches. These porcupines use their prehensile tails for grasping and hanging.
The two-toed sloth has many adaptations to help with a life up in the trees. Their fur parts on their belly so that it hangs while they’re upside down and it usually has a greenish tinge due to the algae that naturally grows in it!
Pallas’s long-tongued bat, Glossophaga soricina, is a South and Central American bat . It has the fastest metabolism ever recorded in a mammal, similar to those of hummingbirds. Although it uses 50% of its stored fat over the course of a day, over 80% of its energy comes directly from the simple sugars that compose its diet of nectar, without being stored in any form.
What's that smell?
Porcupine musk! In order to claim territory, porcupines secrete musk which they rub onto nearby branches and trees.
An average sloth travels 26x slower than a common garden snail!
Bats eat twice their body weight each day – that's the same as an average human eating 1,528 quarter-pound burgers each day!