Join our zoo community

advise and process in creating natural enclosures

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by cpt, 18 Apr 2013.

  1. cpt

    cpt Member

    Joined:
    18 Apr 2013
    Posts:
    8
    Location:
    Grand Junction, CO, USA
    hello i am new and just signed up for this forum.
    i am in need of knowledge about live enclosure builds for zoo and conservation exibits. i have minimal experiance and am looking for the process in which to create a natural looking environment from ground up.
    any and all info on small scale vivariums to larger scale exibits would be greatly apprecaiteed
    i am very excited to be working on a new educational center and hope to meet some new and exciting people in the process
    thanks all hope to hear back soon
     
    Last edited: 18 Apr 2013
  2. chrisbarela

    chrisbarela Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Aug 2009
    Posts:
    122
    Location:
    Southern California
    In extremely simple terms - you start with the Husbandry staff and find out their needs and the animals needs. That will be the basis of 90% of your design.
     
  3. cpt

    cpt Member

    Joined:
    18 Apr 2013
    Posts:
    8
    Location:
    Grand Junction, CO, USA
    right i understand that, so in simple terms a caiman exibit wouldn't be dramatically different than an anaconda exibit, partial aquatic partial terrestrial. or am i not accurate in that assumption
     
  4. tschandler71

    tschandler71 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    26 Aug 2011
    Posts:
    1,158
    Location:
    Geraldine AL USA
    It really depends on the animal, you identify the animal, then its habitat, then its niche in that habitat, and you recreate it the best you in a contained environment. IE take a Kudu. They live in high veld. You would need cover in the form of some trees and a good amount of hedgebushes. They aren't water dependent but a good dust bath would be great to cut down of parasites/ticks. Also being an ungulate you would need a place to bed down completely under said cover and a salt lick (especially for young males laying down antlers)

    Just Bio 101. Animals need sustenance, cover, security, and social interaction.
     
  5. cpt

    cpt Member

    Joined:
    18 Apr 2013
    Posts:
    8
    Location:
    Grand Junction, CO, USA
    i was instructed that i will mainly be workin on vivaiurm, paludarium type of setup, build up only not maintaining them, for smaller reptile amphibians and insects. most of the enclosure of larger scale dont seem to use real wood, faux replicas of tree and logs. for longevity of a display fake rocks and wooded structures can be used but im unsure what the maintenance of a longterm vivarium intales. eventually the woods will decompose.
    do zoo exibits replace and rework say a dart frog habitat every couple of years or is there constant maintenace and adjustment being done to them?
     
  6. tschandler71

    tschandler71 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    26 Aug 2011
    Posts:
    1,158
    Location:
    Geraldine AL USA
    I wouldn't know I'm just going off of Bio college work, life on a farm, and common sense. Like I said each animal is different but stick to trying to emulate the biome as best you can.
     
  7. cpt

    cpt Member

    Joined:
    18 Apr 2013
    Posts:
    8
    Location:
    Grand Junction, CO, USA
    thanks for your insight, mainly i need to know do's and dont's of enclosure exibits. Idealy i would like to use all organic components but through time those will break down. any way thanks again
     
  8. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    4,686
    Location:
    South Devon
    I'm not an expert on paludarium design and maintenance, but I know a bit about aquaria. You will certainly have to have the right technology (lights, water filter and pump) and to perform regular maintenance. Choice of base materials and plants is very important. There are some species of invertebrates which can act as housekeepers in certain circumstances, reducing maintenance to some extent. There is a lot to learn!

    Alan
     
  9. chrisbarela

    chrisbarela Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Aug 2009
    Posts:
    122
    Location:
    Southern California
    Technically the needs of an anaconda and a caiman are fairly similar - there are AZA guidelines for size of exhibit and specific ratios of land and water. How you make them differ is the fun part. You are always taking, what is essentially a man made box and trying to make it look like a chunk of wilderness!

    And to expand on what others have said, you need to be very aware of the materials you use, especially when dealing with water. Some materials can leech chemicals into the water over time, effecting and potentially killing sensitive fish and amphibians. Wood will bleed tannins into the water changing it's color. Any exposed metals can rust...

    There is a fairly large learning curve when it comes to these kind of displays. Most animal husbandry folks are extremely knowledgeable with what materials can and can not be used. Do as much research as possible before starting. There are even some exhibit design videos on Youtube you can check out.
    Best of luck!!!
     
  10. cpt

    cpt Member

    Joined:
    18 Apr 2013
    Posts:
    8
    Location:
    Grand Junction, CO, USA
    awesome thanks, mostly i will be wokring on smaller enclosures i was just useing the larger reptiles as examples. i am in the process of meeting with a few of the people heading this organization so im sure they will be informing me of what duties i am to fullfill. i have found several good walkthroughs and will hopefully be working with an experianced curators and specialists throughout this project. thanks again for your input i will keep updateing as this progresses.