Zoo Atlanta will close early on Sat., May 25 for Brew at the Zoo. Gates will close at 1:30 p.m. and grounds will close at 3 p.m. 

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Thursday, November 17

What does that “Animal off Exhibit” sign really mean? Most guests visiting the Zoo may find disappointment in an empty animal habitat, but many individuals are probably curious as to what that vacancy really means.

Here are a couple reasons as to why one might see a sign apologizing for an empty habitat while touring Scaly Slimy Spectacular:

1.    The habitat may be getting a few cosmetic upgrades. This could be simply adding a couple new plants given to us by our generous Horticulture Team or as complicated as creating an intercut concrete waterfall feature. Whether we are just re-arranging a habitat or completely re-modeling it, we have to remove the animal in order to be 100% safe.

2.    We may be expecting a new arrival for that habitat. Believe it or not, a lot of preparation goes into setting up a home for a reptile or amphibian. We herpetology keepers worry about things like lighting, temperature, humidity, water and substrate. Sometimes we need the perspective of our entire Herpetology Team to ensure that the habitat is adequate for its new inhabitants.

3.    Every so often a habitat needs regular maintenance. Zookeepers are diligent on inspecting animal habitats and are quick to correct any challenges, often with the help of our awesome Maintenance Team.

4.    Our reptiles and amphibians see the vet just like a dog or cat does. Sometimes our animals are not visible because they are visiting our amazing Vet Team here at Zoo Atlanta. This is often temporary and the animals usually return to their area within a short period of time.

5.    An animal may not be visible because he or she is in another part of the habitat that guests cannot see. These are areas where our animals are often provided diets or have training sessions. This space normally allows zookeepers to interact with the animals in a closer manner and provides a perfect opportunity for us to get a better visual on the animal.

We do our best to reduce the amount of time a habitat is not occupied, but rest assured that any absence is always in the best interest of the animal. Here at Scaly Slimy Spectacular, we are settling into our incredible new building and finding the perfect location for each reptile and amphibian within the complex. Our goal is to provide the best experience for our guests as well as provide the best care for our animals. This sometimes means guests will discover an “Animal Off Exhibit” sign in place of an animal.

I hope these couple examples provide a little more insight into the reasons we sometimes temporarily do not have animals in habitats.
Trent Niesen
Lead Keeper, Herpetology 

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