Chaffee Zoological Gardens

OBJECTIVES: When you have finished your tour of the zoo it is hoped you will be able to:
1. Recognize species in at least eight mammalian orders represented in the zoo.
2. Understand the structural characteristics (feet, limbs, teeth, body type, etc.) as well as observe various adaptations these animals have for survival in their native habitats.
3. Become aware of what zoos and wildlife preserves have to offer the world.
4. To use your skill of observation to study the similarities and differences of external features used for classifying vertebrates.

1. Approximate time to complete tour is 3 hours.
2. DO NOT feed or harass the animals!!!!
3. Carefully read these study questions BEFORE starting the tour. Use your zoo map to locate animals. You may start at any section.
4. Be sure to read the displays and information signs in front of or to the side of the exhibits. Also, view the globes to determine geographic location.

1. Make sure you have the entrance fee as well as $5 to park.
2. Bring a clipboard, pencil, and this assignment.
3. If you are pressed for time, answer as many questions in this exercise as possible prior to the trip.
4. There is an entrance fee ($5) charged per vehicle to enter the park. Carpooling is a good idea.


The Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 to protect plants and animals which are in danger of becoming extinct. Species that are listed as threatened or endangered in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are not allowed to be imported or exported, hunted, collected, harassed, or transported across state or national lines. This applies to living or dead organisms, their parts, and the products manufactured from them. Protected species may be used only for the purpose of scientific research, public education, exhibition in zoos, or for efforts that could help save species.

Categories of Animals in Jeopardy

Endangered: In serious danger of becoming extinct throughout all or in a significant portion of its range.

Threatened: Likely to become endangered in the near future unless special protective measures are taken.

Rare: An organism that has such small numbers throughout its range that it may become endangered if its present environment worsens.

1. Choose one animal that you see during the trip that is endangered and answer the following questions.

NAME OF ENDANGERED ANIMAL: ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬_______________________

A. What are possible reasons for their numbers being reduced?

B. To where is this animal native?

Here are some Examples that you can look for:
Great Apes (all)
Tiger, Elephant
Leopard, Prairie Dog
Lemurs, Galapagos Tortoise
Tapir, Chacoan Peccary

GENERAL PLAN: This lab is set up to lead you around the zoo. If you cannot find the next animal, use the map that you received at the entrance.

Elephants: The elephants are the largest living terrestrial animals. It has long been assumed that there are two living elephant species, the African and Asian. Recent genetic studies indicate that African elephants consist of two species, the forest elephant and the savanna elephant.

What type of elephant is on display (not inside the African Adventure exhibit)?

What features distinguish these from the other two species?

What are a few of the possible functions of the trunk?

What do elephants eat in the wild?

Orangutan or Siamang: Monkeys and Apes belong to the order of Primates. Humans are also found in this order. One major difference between the Monkeys and Apes is a tail. As you observe members of this order see if you can figure out which is which and be sure to include in your description such characteristics as:

Presence or absence of:

Visible tail, claws or nails, opposable thumb and/or toe, length of arms to legs, shape of foot, placement of eyes on head, nostrils pointed outward, nostrils round and separated or narrow and close together

Also include descriptions of their type of movement, use of tail if present, and other noticeable behaviors.

Great Apes: (Orangutan or Siamang)
Select one of these to watch and describe.



Monkeys: (Swamp Monkey, Colobus, Guenon)
During your walk around the zoo find a monkey and contrast the differences between it and the apes. Include a description of their behaviors.


TIger: The Tiger is found in the order Carnivora. This is a very diverse group. It includes cats (Felidae), dogs (Canidae), bears (Ursidae), and seals (Pinnipedia).

What do they all have in common to be placed in this order? ________________________________________________________.

Observe the following characteristics and describe them below:
Muzzle length
Type of foot
Retractable vs. non-retractable claws
Muscular nature of the limbs
Type of tail
Observed behavior


Black footed cat

How does its size compare to other wild cats?

Tapir: Tapirs are found in a group that includes the horses and rhinoceroses. Tapirs are found in the tropical forests of Asia and the Americas. They often live near water and are strong swimmers.

How is the upper lip modified for feeding on rainforest vegetation?

Are the toes on the front and rear feet the same?

What is the general body shape?

What other interesting characteristics do you observe?

How is the coloration of the Malayan Tapir an adaptation to life in a forest habitat?

American Alligator: Reptiles are the first class of animals to evolve a totally terrestrial (on land) life history.

Describe two adaptations the American Alligator has for life on land.



Tropical Treasures Exhibit - To locate the tropical treasures exhibit, you will need to enter the Rain Forest (Tropical) bird exhibit and walk to the back where you will enter the Tropical Treasures exhibit.

Golden Lion Tamarin:

Where do the Golden Lion Tamarins normally live?

What is their diet?

What is their conservation status?

Two-Toed Sloth: Sloths are slow moving arboreal mammals. Their fur provides habitat for insects, fungi and algae. They have an extremely slow metabolism.

What does this sloth eat?

Describe three adaptations this animal has (you may need to ask the zookeeper in the exhibit or look it up).

What mammal on display in the zoo is most closely related to the sloth?

Kangaroos: Kangaroos are in a group of mammals called Marsupials. Marsupials give birth to very underdeveloped young, which use the mother’s pouch (marsupium) as an external womb, and attach to the large teat somewhat like an umbilical cord. Later, the young detach themselves from the nipple and only suckle occasionally. The majority of living marsupials are found in Australia. Kangaroos, wallabies, opossums (found in the Americas), wombats, and the koala are examples of marsupials.

What is the difference between the front and hind limbs?

How do they use their tail during movement?

If they are not moving around when you are viewing this exhibit describe how they look when they are lying down.

Describe any other interesting behaviors that you observe:

Inside the African Adventure Exhibit

Zebra: Zebras and horses are both in the Equine family. Zebra are well adapted to the grassland in which they live. They can endure severe drought, and their teeth grow throughout their lives, which also assist in chewing the abrasive grasses.

Does this animal have a white body with black stripes or a black body with white stripes?

How may neck stripes do you see?

How many toes on a foot?

How fast can a newborn zebra run?

Antelope: (Addax, Oryx, Eland, Gazelle) Select one to observe and describe any unique characteristics and behaviors.



How is the Addax well adapted to a hot desert environment?

Giraffe: Giraffe are found in a very diverse group (CETARTIODACTYLA) that includes camels, pigs, deer, sheep, hippos, and whales, among others.

Name three adaptations that you see that would enable them to feed?

Sketch the foot.

What problems could this animal have while drinking?

Cheetah: The cheetah is the fastest land mammal. In 1900 the population was estimated to be over 100,000 across their historic range. Now the numbers are estimated to be close to 10,000 in isolated populations.

How do Cheetah’s greet each other?

What markings are on this animal that distinguish it from other cats? (Hint: look at the pattern and face).

How much of their historic range do they currently occupy?

What is the conservation status of the cheetah?

White Rhinoceros: The rhinoceros is one of the largest land mammals second to the elephants.

How many horn-like growths are on the head? (These are made of keratin, like hair, not bone like bovine horns or antler.)

How many toes does a Rhinoceros have?

How do Rhinos signal danger?

What is the main threat to wild rhino populations?

African Lion: Lions are the only cats that live in groups (prides). Lions are one of 5 species within the genus Panthera.

Do you see any male lions in the exhibit?

How can you determine if a lion is male or female?

Where habitat do African lions occupy?

Describe the lion’s behavior:

What is the main threat to African lion populations?

African Elephant: African elephants are the largest land mammal. They may eat up to 900 pounds of vegetation per day! Elephants can begin reproducing at age 10, but are most fertile between ages 25 and 45. Their gestation period is 2 years! Elephants are highly intelligent.

How do elephants communicate?

Describe the structure of an elephant herd.

List three adaptations you see on this elephant and describe why they might be helpful in their environment.

Do elephants “run?”

Baobab Tree

What is a baobab tree?

Are these trees deciduous (lose their leaves)?

What are the adaptations to fire?

How do elephants use these trees?
(Back outside the African Adventure Exhibit)

Prairie dog: These rodents get their name from the barking sound they make when excited. This group is one of the great success stories of the mammals. More than 40% of all mammal species are rodents, and there are said to be more individual rodents in the world than all other mammals combined. Rodents have a pair of very prominent incisor teeth at the front, perpetually growing to replace the massive wear and tear. They can effectively gnaw their way through anything.

How does Prairie Dog activity benefit soil quality?

Describe any other interesting behaviors that you observe.

In their natural habitat, what predators might feed on these rodents?

Ursidae (Sloth Bear)

Forelimbs vs. Hindlimbs Claws
Skull size Muzzle shape

What is the main diet of the sloth bear?

Where does this animal typically live?

Describe the behavior of this animal:

Lemurs (Ring-tailed or Red-ruffed Lemur): Lemurs are the most primitive group of living primates. Describe how they use their hands and tails, in addition to the other primate characteristics.

To where are all lemurs endemic? Define endemic.

Anteater: Anteaters are in a group of animals (Xenanthera) that consists of the armadillos, sloths and their extinct relatives. They evolved in South America, after it had torn itself away from Africa, forming a very large island. After the formation of the Isthmus of Panama about 3 million years ago, the fauna of North and South America began to exchange. This allowed many xenantheres to move into North America, however, the anteater seen here at the zoo is only found in South and Central America.

While observing the anteater, describe characteristics that help adapt it to digging and feeding on ants and termites.


What are some current threats to the giant anteater population?

Capybara: What is unique about this rodent?

Describe how rodent teeth grow.

Pinnipeds (seals): This suborder of aquatic carnivores has modifications of the basic body plan for life in the water. Observe the Sealions and Harbor Seals and answer the questions below. Use the signs throughout the exhibit to help find the answers.

Limb modifications - Hind limbs
Presence or absence of external ears - General body shape
Use of body and flippers during swimming

List two differences between the Sealion and Harbor Seal.

1. _______________________________________________
2. _______________________________________________

From your observations which of these two is better adapted for moving around on land?   _______________________________

What are the main predators of Sealions and Harbor Seals?

Sealions and Harbor Seals are found of the California coast where the water is very cold most of the year. How do they stay warm in the cold water?

How long can a Sealion hold their breath? ________________

How long can a Harbor Seal hold their breath? ________________

Red Wolf: Why is this canid species endangered in North America?



REPTILE HOUSE: Many examples of amphibians and reptiles are on display in this building. Select one amphibian (Frog, Toad, Salamander), one lizard, and one snake, and describe each in detail. Include in your description the geographic areas they are native to.




Which snake in the reptile house has the largest fangs of any snake in the world?

BIRDS: Scattered throughout the zoo are many species of birds. Give the name of THREE (3) different bird species you find the most interesting. Give a unique characteristic or behavior you observed (Beak, legs/feet, feathers, color, etc.)




Summarize your field trip below. Be sure to include which animal was your favorite and why.

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1. Choose one animal that you see during the trip that is endangered and answer the following questions.

NAME OF ENDANGERED ANIMAL: Ring tailed lemur (Lemur catta)

A. What are possible reasons for their numbers being reduced?

Ans: The major reason for the numbers being reduced is the human activity and resulting habitat destruction. The animal used to be hunted for meat in the last century. The current threats also include trapping of the animals for pet-trade. The major non-human cause for the reduction is periodic draught, worsened by the islandic nature of its habitat.

B. To where is this animal native?

Ring tailed lemurs are native to Madagascar island, where it is endemic....

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