Visitors to the St. Louis Zoo this summer will have two new exhibits to enjoy, one of which will allow guests to touch the animals. The first of these exhibits to open, Stingray Cove, became accessible to guests starting on April 15, and the exhibit features a variety of not only stingrays, but a few shark species as well!
The 17,000-gallon pool, which is 20 inches deep and includes a waterfall feature, is home to cownose rays, southern stingrays, and three species of small sharks: bonnethead, brown-banded bamboo, and white-spotted bamboo sharks. The exhibit is designed to be interactive for the entire family, as guests are able to reach into the pool and touch the stingrays and sharks. At certain times throughout the day, there will be feeding opportunities for guests to feed the stingrays. For the animals’ comfort, there are several areas of the exhibit where the animals can go to rest, away from guest access.
The sharks living in Stingray Cove are all smaller than four feet in length, and are considered shy in nature, so there is not any danger in reaching in to the tank to touch the sharks. Rather, the opportunity to touch a shark will be a new and exciting experience for zoo visitors of all ages.
In just a few days on April 28, the St. Louis Zoo will be opening another new exhibit in the Emerson Children’s Zoo. A pair of Tasmanian devil sisters recently arrived at the zoo at the end of March, and they are now settling into their $550,000 habitat. The sisters, named Yindi and Jannali, arrived in St. Louis from the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia, where they were born two years ago.
Tasmanian devils are only found in Tasmania, an island off the coast of Australia, and they are rarely seen in human care. In the wild, the Tasmanian devil population has been in steady decline since 1996, when devil facial tumor disease was first noted in the species. The St. Louis Zoo was chosen as one of only six zoos in North America to feature the marsupials as part of Australia’s Save the Tasmanian Devil Program.
The Tasmanian devil habitat includes a plethora of diverse natural features, such as dens, a fresh water pond, boulders, logs, and several plant species, designed to replicate the devil’s natural habitat. Many spaces throughout the 2,000-square-foot habitat are covered with soil to give the devils plenty of space to dig and burrow. The dens in the exhibit can also be heated in the winter and cooled in the summer.
General admission to the St. Louis Zoo is free, and access to Stingray Cove or to the Children’s Zoo with the Tasmanian devils is $4 per person.