The Metro Richmond Zoo is always seeking new and exciting ways to expand and renovate our park! We are thrilled to unveil our big plans for 2017.
New Animal Exhibits
The pygmy hippopotamus is native to the forests and swamps of West Africa, mainly Liberia. It is an endangered species with only an estimated 3,000 individuals remaining in the wild. Pygmy hippos share the same general form as the hippopotamus. However, the pygmy hippo is half as tall as the hippo and weighs less than 1/4 as much as the hippo. Adult pygmy hippos stand 2.5-3 feet tall and are 4.9-5.7 feet in length. They weigh from 350-600 pounds. Just like the hippo, pygmy hippos are semi-aquatic and rely on the water to keep their skin moist and cool. Their feet are less webbed, however, than those of the hippo, and their legs are longer than their large relative’s. Little is known about pygmy hippos in the wild. They are more rare than hippos.
At the Zoo, construction is well underway for their exhibit. Their habitat is located between Kumbali & Kago and the servals. The exhibit will contain grassy fields, a mud pit, and a large pool for the pygmy hippos to swim in. Our first pygmy hippo will arrive at the Zoo in early summer.
The giant anteater is native to Central and South America. They are around 3.5-4 feet in length and weigh anywhere from 60-140 pounds (males weigh heavier than females). Giant anteaters don’t have any teeth. Instead, they have a specialized tongue that allows them to eat 30,000 ants and termites each day! Their slender tongue is about 24 inches long. The giant anteater has the longest tongue in relation to its body size of any mammal. They have poor eyesight, but their sense of smell is 40 times stronger than that of a human’s.
The giant anteater exhibit at the Zoo will be located between the train station and the South American exhibit (as seen in the photo above). A wooden boardwalk will extend across the exhibit and down to the lake. Visitors can walk on the elevated path and view the anteaters on the right and the tapirs, llamas, and rheas on the left. Two anteaters will arrive at the Zoo in late Spring.
15 New Exhibits in the Reptile Building
Phase 1 of our new Reptile House opened spring 2016. The phase 2 expansion will open later this year with 15 additional exhibits. The new hallway of the Reptile House will contain large multi-species displays with various reptiles.
African Clawless Otter
Our otters are getting a new home! We are building a larger habitat with underwater viewing. Guests will be able to watch the otters swim in the pool through the glass windows. This new exhibit is located down the hill from the playground.
Two Primate Islands
Construction has begun on two primate islands that can be viewed from the Safari Train Ride. These islands will be of similar design to the chimpanzee and orangutan exhibits currently in the Zoo. The water provides a natural barrier for the animals because apes can’t swim due to their heavy body mass.