Friday Question of the Day – What’s Your Favorite non Panda animal at the National Zoo?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Istvan Kerekes

Years ago we had a debate about the Red Pandas vs the Giant Pandas. So let’s just take all the pandas out of this debate – besides them what’s your favorite animal at the National Zoo?

I’m voting for the Orangutangs when they are using the sky bridge – or the giant fish in the amazon exhibit. And I do love the poison frogs, pictured here, in the Amazonia exhibit too.

59 Comment

  • Asian small clawed otters!!!

  • Golden lion tamarins

  • It’s not a single animal, but I have always enjoyed the bird exhibit, particularly the outdoor portion where there are some amazingly freaky big birds.

    • Enjoy it while you still can! I was recently on a zoo tour and was told that the whole bird area is going to undergo a massive renovation pretty soon. Apparently some of the outdoor birds will still be available for viewing, but most of the area will be closed for a long time. Not sure exactly what’s going to change, but the guide said the outdoor aviary part is one thing that will get the axe.

    • I forgot to mention the komodo dragon. Super cool.

  • I LOVED the invertebrate house when it was open. So sad that it closed!

  • I know there’s nothing remotely exotic about them, but I really love the cows and goats down at the kids’ farm. Goat antics never get old, and the cows are just so chill.

  • ThunderCheese

    Tamanduas. Also burrowing owls. And Motmots.

  • Pablo Raw

    My favorites are the reptiles and amphibians, specially the poison dart frogs and the anaconda

  • The Clouded Leopard is beautiful.

  • Flamingos!! Didn’t know they were there until recently and they’re so beautiful.

  • +more on the SeaLions.

  • Capybara for sure. So bizarre looking. Reminds me of the Princess Bride – R.O.U.S. And to top it off they are the world’s largest vegetarian rodent. Just an interestingly weird animal.

  • Tourists!

  • njb510

    Kori bustard

  • sloth bears are pretty cool if you can catch them out! also love the lions and tigers. and the cheetah. and the red-maned wolf!

    i love that zoo.

  • Red Pandas
    Maned wolves
    Giant Ant Eaters
    Apparently I’m drawn to orange animals 75% of the time.

  • Penelope the short-eared elephant shrew

  • hands down, the oragutans!! I remember a school field trip where one climbed the sky walk just to piss on some kids. It was awesome

  • Egad

    The wolves, sea lions and manta rays.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I wish I could say rhinos but they don’t have any 🙁

  • goaldigger

    Luke the lion (as I can hear him roar from my apt), the seals, the elephants and the komodo dragon

  • samanda_bynes

    + 1 to sloths. sloths are the greatest. also, followed by those dope ass armadillos

  • The whole bird exhibit, especially the flamingos and the peacocks and the cassowary.
    And the asian small-clawed otters. Are they still as goofy as they were when they were babies? The litter of 15 otter babies was hilarious.

  • The little tiny owls. I think they’re burrowing owls. In the bird house.

  • My favs are the asian otters and the lion cubs!

  • I once got to the gibbon exhibit when they were being released into the outdoor portion in the morning and they all came out making loud WHOOP WHOOP noises (nature’s Juggalos, perhaps?). There were two groups of them and it was like they were having a whoop-off with each other. It was awesome.

    So the gibbons are my favorite, but only when they’re whooping.

    • Actual LOL at “and they all came out making loud WHOOP WHOOP noises (nature’s Juggalos, perhaps?).”

    • Yes, big fan of the gibbons as well. I was there with a friend and her two kids once and the gibbons went absolutely nuts. Their chanting echoed throughout the entire park.

  • How has no one mentioned the LION CUBS? Best part of the Zoo hands down.

  • Oh man–too many to list! I think I can narrow it down to two: Andean bear cubs and the Asian small-clawed otters. The red pandas are a VERY close third.

  • This thread makes me think I need to go back to the Zoo and do a thorough visit. Or multiple visits.

  • The otters. When I was in third grade, my dad chaperoned my school field trip to the zoo. He was always traveling for work, so this was a really big deal. We went by the otter tank (I think it was the American otters), and just as we walked up a butterfly flew in and all the otters started chasing it around it a pack, on land, in the water, back and forth several times. This went on for a few minutes and we all nearly died laughing. One of my favorite childhood memories, and my dad (who lives on the west coast now) still asks periodically how our otters are doing.

  • Gotta give some love to the prairie dogs on behalf of my wife. Loves how they pop their little heads out.

  • Another vote for the otters. Those guys flip all day long, they’re the most reliable animal at the zoo to entertain kids. I’m also very partial to the orangutans, especially when they’re on the O-line.

  • I have never seen an orangutan using the O-Line — I really want to!!

  • The alpacas at the petting zoo!

  • I love the cat that constantly circles over water. I also love the giant tortoise because I got to feed him one time!

  • Jumping on the Asian otter bandwagon. I could watch those little guys all day long.

  • The red ruffed lemurs in the small mammal house!! I’d say the ring-tailed lemurs at Lemur Island, but they are always in hiding when I’m there, so I’m not convinced they actually exist.

  • Prairie dogs and orangutans. Hands down.

  • I can’t believe no one else has mentioned the elephants! <3

    • I’ve been trying not to preach, but since you mentioned it… I think most zoo animals have great lives. Having all the food, and security from predators, and medical attention when needed is a way better life than they’d have in the wild. However, a few animals are intelligent enough to be aware of and damaged by their captivity. All the benefits can’t make them psychologically well. Elephants and higher-order apes shouldn’t be in zoos.

      • Generally agreed. My understanding has been that captive elephants do best when they’re in sanctuaries with 1) lots of room and 2) others of their kind, rather than in zoo environments.

      • Excellent point-thus why I abhor the circus. I always hope the elephants at the National Zoo have adequate (although not ample, but hopefully adequate) room and are with their herd.

  • The Maned Wolf! They are so cool, and I didn’t even know they existed before seeing them at the zoo. Unfortunately they seem to be hiding the past couple of months.

  • Arapaima! (Gigantic fish in Amazonia)

  • Anonomnom

    More love for the Fishing Cat!!

  • I love the elephants and the apes – but as WDC said, they make me really sad because they know that there is a better life outside of Woodley Park.

  • Tigers – very sexy.
    And the hippos, though are they still there? Last time I visited it seemed they’d been moved during the elephant house rebuild.

  • Monkey island is always fun!

  • The Nake Mole Rats! Hours of entertainment.

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