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The animal collections of Malmö

Discussion in 'Sweden' started by devilfish, 3 Jul 2015.

  1. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    Earlier this week I returned from a brief trip across the (European) continent. I spent one of the days in Malmö, Sweden and was surprised to find so little about the collections on here.

    Malmö is Sweden’s third city. Among many other things, it’s known for being the birthplace of IKEA and for being only half an hour by train from Copenhagen. There are two main animal collections in the city, both being fairly small. Malmö’s aquarium sits inside the Castle’s museum complex and has recently been renovated, and a reptile centre in one of the city’s popular parks houses a number of rare species.

    I didn’t visit SEA-U Research and education centre which also displays some live fish but I can’t find much information about this. It seems that only a couple of teaching aquaria are set up and I’m unsure whether they are permanent homes for any fish. Another institution, Malmö’s Marine Education Centre, is due to open next year. I imagine they will also exhibit some forms of marine life.
     
  2. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    Malmö aquarium

    Malmö castle is over 500 years old. Built as a strategic fortress, the current structure is still moated and houses the Malmö museum, which holds a variety of permanent and temporary displays. One of the floors of the museum houses a natural history collection and a lower floor is home to the newly renovated aquarium which opened in mid-May. 63 exhibits are divided into three main areas: ‘our waters’, ‘unique and threatened environments’ and ‘animals’ fantastic functions’.

    The main entrance to the aquarium is via a small darkened foyer containing long benches and screens showing computer-generated video of the seabed and marine life. The screens are framed to look as though they are windows of a submarine. Paths from this room lead into either ‘our seas’ or ‘unique and threatened environments’. Each zone isn’t huge, but they are very nicely done. An interesting feature are glass panels placed underfoot, beneath which items from the natural history collection are displayed (such as crab models, stuffed eels and a dolphin skull). A practical touch was that the interactive signage for each enclosure consisted of a framed iPad, allowing for further details about each inhabitant of the enclosure to be selected.

    In the first part of ‘our waters’ an empty-looking European eel tank has a small tunnel underneath and bubble windows for children to pop their heads int. It’s a reasonably sized tank, and the eels hide well in plastic pipes, bricks and wellington boots at the bottom of the aquarium. I couldn’t help but feel that this tank could have benefitted from some of the more colourful native fish, or even any smaller fish to make it look a little bit livelier. Nonetheless signage about the migration to the Sargasso Sea (and back) was excellent. Other nearby tanks include a twin set-up for zooplankton (Daphnia sp.) and phytoplankton (algae) with other aquaria housing native freshwater species. A nearby tank which is under construction will house edible frogs, and another will house adders together with fire-bellied toads.

    The other part of ‘our seas’ was made up of two big tanks with large viewing windows facing a series of smaller tanks, all housing species from the North Sea. The larger tanks were nice to look at, although the largest felt a little empty, housing a single cod and some turbot. Well-positioned viewing benches were appreciated by other visitors. Some of the smaller tanks featured interesting inhabitants, including sea sticklebacks (labelled but invisible to me) and a large blue lobster, but I really appreciated the smaller tanks in the corner housing such surprises as a spiny crab, unusual shrimp, odd sea cucumbers and live sea pens. I was actually quite pleased to find that the cylindrical aquarium labelled for lagoon jellyfish displayed masses of mussels instead of jellies.

    In the next zone, ‘unique and threatened environments’, a highlight was the small tropical area; a glass roof let in plenty of light to a small exhibit space with vivaria for eyelash viper and mangrove snakes and river exhibits on either side. I had been excited to see these enclosures. Both river exhibits had a lot of land space and decent water area with waist-height acrylic viewing panels. The Bornean environment housed archerfish and Europe’s only Bornean mudskippers on public display. These were unfortunately a no-show for me despite several return visits and the efforts of two members of staff. The opposite side was an Amazon tributary exhibit housing red-footed tortoises and mostly common aquarium fish, with the exception of freshwater needlefish (Potamorrhapis guianensis) which would again have been a very special find had I seen them – but the tank is so long that it isn’t difficult for shy fish to stay out of sight and still have plenty of space to swim freely.

    Once back in the darker display areas of this zone, a number of the vivaria are awaiting completion. Those which aren’t house Fiji banded iguana, several groups of Malawi cichlids, a Malagasy set-up with giant day geckos and a number of fish. One of the poorer points is a Gila monster enclosure with what seems to be insufficient ground cover, so the monsters take shelter in the crevices of the mock rock walls. It’s the first time I’ve seen one of these lizards at ceiling level (although admittedly I don’t normally look that high in Gila monster exhibits. A tropical tank, an Australian (cane toad) enclosure, a seahorse tank, an Egyptian tortoise & Uromastyx display and a window into the quarantine/breeding area complete this zone.

    A corridor lined with interesting signs and cabinets of confiscated animal goods, educational props and animal models lead to the next zone, ‘fantastic functions’. A small, dimly-lit side room houses three nocturnal enclosures, one for cave racers, another for scorpions, and one unfinished enclosure each for Tokay gecko and slow loris (N. coucang – not a common species in Europe).

    A lot of the more interesting animals in the ‘animals' fantastic functions’ area were surprisingly difficult to find. A choice selection of animals are on display here, and educational signage is outstanding in some places.

    Highlights of this section for me were a joint display of green tree python and (unfortunately immature) emerald tree boa in adjacent enclosures, the Usambara three-horned chameleon, Xenogama taylori, a large vivarium holding two species of leaf-tailed gecko together, electric catfish (very difficult to get a clear view of) and spotted green snake. A list of inhabitants in this section is below:

    Rhinoceros viper
    Yellow-spotted monitor
    Blue-spotted monitor
    Mexican blind cave fish
    Common octopus (unfinished tank)
    Horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus – unfinished tank)
    Usambara three-horned chameleon
    Xenagama taylori (mixed with tropical girdled lizards)
    Frogfish (Antennarius sp.)
    Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)
    Banggai cardinalfish
    Pistol shrimp (Alpheus bellulus)
    Goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus)
    Lichenose leaf-tailed gecko
    Henkel’s leaf-tailed gecko
    Shrimpfish
    Spotted garden eel
    Electric catfish (Malapterurus electricus)
    Red-bellied piranha
    Axolotl (vivarium incomplete)
    Eastern tiger salamander (vivarium incomplete)
    Red-eyed treefrog (vivarium incomplete)
    Golden poison dart frog (vivarium incomplete)
    Goliath bird-eating spider (vivarium incomplete)
    Malayan jungle nymph (vivarium incomplete)
    Pueblan milk snake
    Spotted green snake
    Emerald tree boa
    Green tree python

    A visit to the aquarium can then be rounded off nicely with a trip upstairs to the Natural History Museum which has some interesting specimens, including a proboscis monkey.
     
  3. Swedish zoo man

    Swedish zoo man Active Member

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    Are the mokey alive
     
  4. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    At the aquarium? I didn't see any monkeys but there is a sign for slow loris (not yet on display).
     
  5. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    Malmö reptilcenter

    Malmö’s Folkets park is frequently ranked as one of the city’s top sights and has a number of attractions, including a standalone reptile house, Malmö reptilcenter. The list of reptiles at the centre shows some fascinating rarities. On walking into the reception area, it immediately becomes clear that this is not a standard reptile house. The queue for the ticket desk stretches a few metres towards the door down what is also the main aisle of the souvenir shop. There is a strong scent of burning incense, and different items in the cabinets stick out, like the lamps, bongos, masks and wooden sculptures. Stuffed toy animals and plastic animal models are also abundant.

    After buying a ticket, the first room is more of a corridor, and similarly themed to the shop. An aquarium with wood panelling houses a small group of red-bellied piranhas, and nearby vivaria house some recent hatchlings, crocodile eggs and various invertebrates including black widow and huntsman spiders. Several other vivaria don’t contain any animals at all, but rather armies of little plastic soldiers or dioramas with plastic model animals.

    So far an irregular and eccentric collection, it’s something of a relief to walk into the main (central) reptile hall, with rows of large vivaria lining each wall from the ground to above head height. A few exceptions include a tall panther chameleon enclosure, and a couple of series of enclosures for tarantulas and other large invertebrates. Highlights among these include the two less common Theraphosa species (Goliath bird-eating spiders). The first few reptile enclosures house more common species, like king cobra, Texas ratsnake, bearded dragon, cave racer and yellow anaconda, but moving down towards the end of the house, steps up are definitely noted, with Indochinese spitting cobra, white-lipped tree viper and Fiji banded iguana with a huge New Caledonian giant gecko. Another vivarium houses a large Gran Canaria giant lizard (one of only two European holdings, although they’re common in the wild in some Gran Canarian collections). Other interesting lizards here include a Halmahera giant gecko and some Chinese crocodile lizards.
    At the end of the hall is a large pool for an Alligator snapping turtle and West African dwarf crocodiles (whose eggs are being incubated by the entrance).

    The next hall consists of pools for turtles, tall enclosures (mostly with outdoor access) for mammals and reptiles, and trees for the free-roaming marmosets to use. Striped mud turtle, Eastern water dragon, rhinoceros iguana and a variety of callitrichids are among the residents here. A nice enough area, but not quite as exciting as the main gallery.

    An outdoor area offers viewing areas for the outdoor aspect of some of the enclosures, along with a couple of aviaries and some small enclosures for native species of reptile. Sand lizard, wall lizard, green lizard, eyed lizard and adders (several individuals in a larger enclosure) all showed quite nicely for me. Aviaries for lovebirds, cockatoos and doves and an outdoor enclosure for some timid tiger salamanders.

    Back through the main gallery a side entrance leads through to the third hall. Similar to both of the previous rooms, this combines elements of both, with aviaries for macaws, an indoor room for African spurred tortoises, a small snapping turtle pool and a chipmunk cage. Vivaria for scorpions, treefrogs and geckos line the walls, including for grey treefrog, helmeted gecko, Atlas day gecko and Yellow fan-footed gecko. Some of these more unusual inhabitants were very well-hidden during my visit. One of my favourite enclosures here was quite an open wetland exhibit housing grass snake, Italian wall lizards and slow worm (which I couldn’t spot). Plenty of cover and climbing opportunities, and it was nice to see the snake at eye level.

    The eccentric theming continues here too, with a rickshaw containing a money plant and some of the empty vivaria holding skulls and skins, although here there is often some educational signage available.

    One of the things which struck me here was the effort to which the other visitors would go to spot and identify residents of the enclosures. Without photos on the signs this led to a number of incorrect identications, but it was encouraging to see that most visitors would spend quite a lot of time at each enclosure. I don’t know the Swedish for ‘it’s just another lizard’, so I may be wrong, but there was a lot more interest shown than I had expected and I was frequently asked what was in the enclosure in front of me. In Denmark too I noted that visitors would spend a lot of time trying to spot zoo or aquarium inhabitants and many would follow my camera only to be baffled when I take entire exhibit photos.

    After a repeat visit to some of the no-shows, a quick corn snake encounter and a brief chat with the friendly owner I took the nearby bus back to the old town.
     
  6. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    So both collections are very different but hold a number of interesting animals. If they’re a priority then you could easily spend a whole day between both the aquarium and reptile centre.
     
  7. Swedish zoo man

    Swedish zoo man Active Member

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    The monkys att de museum
     
  8. Swedish zoo man

    Swedish zoo man Active Member

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    They hav sayd that dey wane to have emperor tamarin in the mangrowi terrarium
     
  9. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    Ah ok. No I didn't see any tamarins at all, and I spent a long time staring at that mangrove terrarium. ;)

    I've now uploaded photos from both collections.
     
  10. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Moderator Staff Member

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    I really enjoy your reviews of these places that would otherwise probably go unknown to the vast majority of us, devilfish. You take us with you on your journeys and that is much appreciated.
     
  11. Swedish zoo man

    Swedish zoo man Active Member

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    The tamarines are maby coming to.
     
  12. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    Thanks very much David :)
     
  13. Swedish zoo man

    Swedish zoo man Active Member

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    God review!!
     
  14. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Interesting reviews devilfish, thanks :cool:

    I have spent a small amount of time in Malmo, and almost a month in that region of Sweden, but unfortunately I was not able to visit the Reptile Centre, and was unaware of the Aquarium. I will add them both to my to visit list when I go back to Sweden, whenever that will be. If you go back, you may be interested in visiting Skanes Djurpark, which is near the town of Hoor, quite close to Malmo.
     
  15. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! Hoor was a bit far out of our way this time, and we were travelling by train. We spent about an hour in the evening walking around the town of Lund, and then a while walking round Copenhagen city centre on our return so it was quite a busy day. I was lucky to have been able to visit both collections anyway. :)
     
  16. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Fair enough, that does sound fairly busy! We took the train from Copenhagen to Hoor, so the town is easy enough to get to, but I'm not sure if there is public transport to the park from the station.
     
  17. Shirokuma

    Shirokuma Well-Known Member

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    There is a bus from Höör to the park.
     
  18. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I'll bear that in mind for next time :)
     
  19. annebn

    annebn Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for those reviews. I live in Copenhagen, and I've been to Malmö's aquarium several times, but never to the reptile centre. Sounds like it would be worth going there too when I'm in Malmö next.