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Animals of the Night


Commercial Appeal Cat Country



 Primate Canyon

Animals of the Night

Entrance to Animals of the Night

In the U.S., there are only a handful of exhibits devoted to nocturnal animals - and Memphis has one of them.

Residents of Animals of the Night have their daylight hours reversed from ours - which means its always dusk during the day. There's plenty of light, however, to see incredible exhibit areas that feature floor-to-ceiling glass.

The highlight of the exhibit is the center bat flight, which has open viewing on two sides and features over 400 bats.

Factoid: This exhibit was renovated in the late 1990s. It used to be a home to primates and was the site for the giant panda that visited the Memphis Zoo in 1987. Today, giant pandas at the Zoo have a much more comfortable home (see CHINA exhibit).

Exhibited Species:
African Crested Porcupine
Brushtailed Porcupine
Bulldog Bat
Golden-rumped Agouti
Jamaican Fruit Bat
Naked Mole Rat
Owl Monkey
Prehensile-tail Porcupine
Rousetta Bat
Sebaeā€™s Short-tailed Bat
Slender Loris
Slow Loris
Striped Possum
Sugar Glider
Three-banded Armadillo
Two-toed Sloth
Vampire Bat




Malela, a female bonobo (chimp)


Found in the middle of Africa's Congo, bonobos have become one of the planet's most endangered species. The Memphis Zoo is one of a dozen U.S. zoos that exhibits this rare primate.

A troop of six bonobos, also called pygmy chimpanzees, live in this indoor/outdoor hybrid exhibit across from the CHINA exhibit. A baby bonobo was born to "Kiri" in 2005 and is thriving well today.

Factoid: This primate shares over 98 percent of the same genetic make up as humans. It's no wonder why they are one of the smartest primates.

Commercial Appeal Cat Country

Tally, one of three African lions

Cats became the first animals at the Memphis Zoo to be freed from life behind bars. Their exhibit helped to shape the way the Zoo built exhibitry for all its animals throughout the next decade.

Commercial Appeal Cat Country (namesake is Memphis' only daily newspaper) is a three-acre, open-air exhibit devoted to both predators and prey of the cat world. Tigers and lions share common space with the fennec foxes and meerkats.

Throughout the exhibit visitors are greeted by cultural architecture native to the land of the species on exhibit (for example, temple ruins surround the Sumatran tiger exhibit).

The exhibit's climax features a lush, green yard for two African lions. Don't worry - a large, watery moat keeps these jungle kings in their home.

Factoid: The old Carnivora Building, where the cats used to live, still stands at the Memphis Zoo. It was renovated to become the Zoo's primary restaurant - the Cat House Café.
Exhibited Species:
African Lions
Reeve's Munjac
Caracal Lynx
Clouded Leopard
Sumatran Tiger
Crested Screamer
Snow Leopard
Red Panda
Fennec Fox


Ya Ya and Le Le playing
outside together

In April 2003, the Memphis Zoo became one of only four U.S. zoos to exhibit Earth's most treasured endangered species - the giant panda.

But CHINA is not just a giant panda exhibit. Panda duo "Ya Ya" and "Le Le" share their three-acre home with several other species native to China.

CHINA became the first Memphis Zoo exhibit to be built as zoogeograpical - a word that describes exhibits that feature an animal collection from a specific part of the world. The buildings, plant life - even the sounds - of China are represented in this $16 million exhibit.

Giant pandas have both indoor and outdoor exhibit areas, offering the most awe-inspiring panda viewing in America.

Factoid: Ya Ya and Le Le each can eat over 40 pounds of bamboo a day. Because it must be fed fresh, the Zoo's "Bamboo Crew" harvests fresh bamboo from the Memphis area almost every day.
Exhibited Species:
Giant Panda
Asian Small-clawed Otter
Red-billed Blue Magpie
Azure-winged Magpie
Hog Deer
Hooded Crane
White-naped Crane
Temminck's Tragopan
Pére David Deer
White Cheeked Gibbon
Francoís Langur
Lady Amherst Pheasant
Golden Pheasant
Reeve's Pheasant
Falicated Duck
White-crested Lauging Thrush


Splish, a female hippo

Hippos have a reputable history at the Memphis Zoo. At one time, hippos "Venus" and "Adonis" earned our Zoo the title of "hippo capital of the world" - having more successful hippo births than any other zoo. 

One of their offspring "Julie" gave birth to twins "Splish" and "Splash" in the 1980s. Julie still resides at the Zoo today with daughter Splish.

Factoid: Hippos are the deadliest animal in Africa.


Primate Canyon

Chickie, a female orangutan

Primate Canyon features naturalistic, outdoor exhibit areas for a variety of monkeys and apes (helpful hint: monkeys have tails, apes do not).

Some of the planet's most popular primates live here, including gorrillas, orangutans and siamangs - famous for their soaring throat-sack calls.

The exhibit opened in 1995 and has been a top favorite of Zoo visitors ever since.

Factoid: At one time, the Zoo had a problem keeping monkeys inside the Zoo. Residents of the old "Monkey Island" exhibit were often retrieved from the backyards of homes nearby.

Exhibited Species:
Lowland Gorilla
Sumatran Orangutan
Lion-tailed Macaques
Mona Monkey
Siamang Gibbon
Sulawesi Macaques
Eastern Black & White Colubus


More exhibits:

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2000 Prentiss Place, Memphis, TN 38112 (901) 276-WILD  
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