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Tropicario Tropicario Review

Discussion in 'Finland' started by FunkyGibbon, 16 Mar 2015.

  1. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

    11 Jan 2015
    Birmingham, UK
    I thought I would try my hand at writing a review of a collection; I am really loving TLD’s Germany thread, as well others’ work, and while I have no intention of matching his level of detail (or word count!) it has inspired me to do my own. The collection I have chosen is Tropicario, a tiny zoo in a basement in downtown Helsinki, where I am staying at the moment. It is very small and thus easy for me to cover, in addition there is virtually no information about it on zoochat and its ZTL entry is both incomplete and incorrect. Hopefully in the future someone may find this of use when visiting Helsinki. Enjoy.

    (When a Tropicario Gallery is created I will upload my photos and hopefully a mod will be kind enough to put this assign this to the right subforum)
  2. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

    11 Jan 2015
    Birmingham, UK
    This is basically a small reptile collection with a few other animals thrown in. It has an excellent variety of venomous species, large monitors and constrictors. Several species are very rare in captivity, with one, the False Monitor, apparently unique in public collections.

    Getting there
    Tropicario is in Vallila, a suburb of Helsinki. It took me just over half an hour to walk from the city centre, but you could very easily get a bus or tram as well.

    Entry cost
    €13. I think this is overpriced. There are a couple of issues here. Firstly it is a very small collection, I spent two hours there and although I would have happily lingered longer, I could also have easily seen everything in well under an hour if I had not been making notes. Secondly Helsinki Zoo is only €12, and that is a medium sized zoo. I think that visitor income is not the main source of revenue for Tropicario; I have read elsewhere that it sells to private collectors and I must assume that is true otherwise it would not be open long based on the numbers I saw.

    I am not going to do a walkthrough so I will just give a general description of the layout. The basement is split into one very large room and one slightly smaller one. Central lines of vivaria in both make good use of the space and give a very high density of exhibits. Overall the feel is similar to most zoo reptile houses; there is the same artificial foliage and tropical colour scheme, but the visitor areas are less ‘dressed’ than at many other places. I should clarify at this point that I am not comfortable critiquing the exhibits from an animal welfare perspective as I just don’t know enough about reptiles. I will instead compare them to the general standard I have seen in the UK and you the reader can draw your own conclusions.
    The enclosures were all quite similar, the main difference being whether they were ‘jungle’ or ‘desert’. They were on average a bit larger than the equivalent ‘UK standard’ exhibit for the species they contained, but none of them were exceptional in this regard. All the snake and lizard vivaria had a good variety of substrates; usually mockrock, real stone and woodchips, as well as a small pool and plenty of branches. The crocodile enclosures were not good, and I am quite happy to put my name to that statement. The Nile Crocodile especially looks close to outgrowing its exhibit. The enclosures consisted of a concrete bank and a pool. Unfortunately the water level during my visit did not reach the lip of the bank, I assume this was temporary. The pool sides and bottom were also very stained. Definitely the low point of the collection.
    About two thirds had signs in English, finish, Russian and Swedish. The rest were only labelled in Finnish. Fair enough in Finland but something to bear in mind if you are an international visitor. Where an animal is rare in captivity there was an additional sign stating how many are held in Europe and worldwide. This was very useful for me as someone who doesn’t know as much about reptiles.
    One last observation: the enclosures were often separated from each other by glass. This meant that the inhabitants could interact with, but didn’t have any privacy from, their neighbours. An obvious plus and minus situation I think.

    A full species list will be in a following post. The thrust of the collection is venomous snakes, constrictors and large monitors. In addition there were a few reptile house staples and some other rarities. There are several examples in the collection of multiple subspecies of the same species, which was interesting. I will just comment on some of the rarer species and those that otherwise caught my eye.
    The most noteworthy individual, to me, in the collection was a False Monitor. According to Tropicario, who reference ISIS as the source of their information, this is the only individual in captivity. I am quite new to the zoo enthusiast community, and I have a lot to learn about how things work. It was in a way quite thrilling to think this was the only one, but it also felt quite pointless. If there are no private collectors that hold and breed this species (or at least are attempting to) then this seems a throwback to the bad old days.
    The Rio Fuerte Beaded Lizard held is quite rare in European collections and I believe I had not seen it before. It was somehow more exotic than its relative the Gila Monster.
    There are two enclosures containing a total of three Southeast Asian Water Monitors. They were labelled as Black Water Monitors but Wikipedia informs me that these are now considered the same subspecies, with Southeast Asian the preferred name. These are the only individuals of this subspecies on display in Europe. Next to them was a very active and handsome Papuan Monitor, which is also rare in European collections.
    Of the constrictors the following are rare in captivity: Papuan Python, Amethystine Python, Timurin Python, Argentinian Boa and Black Headed Python.
    There are many venomous species on display, I don’t keep a species seen list but if I did I think I would have accrued a lot of lifeticks at Tropicario! The Malayan Pit Viper in particular caught my eye due to its attractive brown colouration.
    There is also one Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, another uncommon species. He enjoyed interacting with visitors who walked past his enclosure and there was a sign explaining this is why he occasionally tapped on the glass with his beak.

    I had a chance to talk to a member of staff who I suspect was also the owner. He told me they breed most of the species they have pairs for each year, and average 200-300 individuals born/hatched a year. There was one kindergarten enclosure containing ‘young’ born a couple of years ago. I think this lends credence to the idea that Tropicario’s main income is selling its bred animals.

    I liked Tropicario. It was nice to visit a collection that put reptiles centre stage as I tend to overlook them in larger zoos. I really enjoyed the monitor species on display, and the variety of snakes was very impressive. For the general punter I think the small size/high pricetag combo is too off-putting.However, I would absolutely recommend this zoo to any enthusiast who had the chance to visit.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: 16 Mar 2015
  3. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

    11 Jan 2015
    Birmingham, UK
    Species List

    Red Tailed Boa (Boa constrictor constrictor)
    Papuan Python (Apodora papuanus)
    Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus) (now a separate species from Indian Python)
    African Rock Python (Python sebae sebae)
    Yellow Anaconda (Eunectes notaeus)
    Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus)
    Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus)
    Amethystine Python (Morelia amethystina/Liasis amethystinus)
    Timorin Python (Python timorensis)
    Carpet Python (Morelia spilota cheynii)
    Colombian Rainbow Boa (Epicrates cenchria maurus)
    Green Tree Python (Morelia/Chrondropython viridis)
    Brazilian Rainbow Boa (Epicrates cenchria cenchria)
    Amazon Tree Boa (Corallus enydris hortolanus)
    Cook’s Tree Boa (Corallus enydris cooki) (Two labels on vivarium containing one animal, ZTL lists these as separate species, not subspecies)
    Royal/Ball Python (Python regius)
    Argentinian Boa (Boa constrictor occidentalis)
    Black Headed Python (Aspedites melanocephalus)

    Cave-dwelling Rat Snake (Orthriophis taeniurus ridleyi)
    Taiwan Beauty Snake (Orthriophis taeniurus friesei)
    Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis)
    Red-sided Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis) (These two subspecies were labelled in the same tank and neither of the specimens on show had red spots)
    Corn Snake (Pantheropsis guttatus guttatus)
    Plain Bullsnake (Pituophis melanoleucus sayi)
    Honduran Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum hondurensis)
    Sinoloan Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum sinaloae)
    Pueblan Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum campbelli)
    California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getulus californiae)
    Holbrook Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getulus holbrooki)

    Sri Lankan Green Pit Viper (Trimeresurus trigonocephalus) [venomous]
    Ashy Pitviper (Trimeresurus puniceus) [venomous]
    Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix laticinctus) [venomous]
    Green Mamba (Dendroaspis angusticeps) [venomous]
    Long Nosed Viper (Vipera ammodytes) [venomous]
    Mexican Moccasin/Taylor’s Cantil (Agkistrodon bilineatus taylori) [venomous]
    Somali Puff Adder (Bitis arietans somalica) [venomous]
    Tropical Rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus terrificus) [venomous]
    Black Mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) [venomous]
    Egyptian Cobra (Naja haje) [venomous]
    Chinese Tree Viper (Viridovipera/Trimeresurus stejnegeri) [venomous]
    Eyelash Viper/Schlegel’s Viper (Bothriechis schlegelii) [venomous]
    Vogel’s Pitviper (Trimeresurus vogeli) [venomous]
    Malayan Pit Viper (Calloselasma rhodostomaI) [venomous]
    Baron’s Green Racer (Philodryas baroni) [venomous]

    Madagascar Day Gecko (Phelsuma madagascarensis grandis)
    Tokay Gecko (Gekko gecko)
    Sailfin Lizard (Hydrosaurus pustulatus)
    Green Basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons)
    Rio Fuerte Beaded Lizard (Heloderma horridum exasperatum) [venomous]
    Monitor Tegu/False Monitor (Callopistes flavipunctatus)
    Black Water Monitor (Varanus salvator komaini) (subspecies now considered synonymous with V. s. macromaculatus)
    Papua Monitor/Crocodile Monitor (Varanus salvadorii)
    Rock Monitor (Varanus albigularis)
    Water Monitor (Varanus salvator)
    Mangrove Monitor (Varanus indicus)

    Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodylus)
    Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)

    Red Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)

    (Grammostola porteri)
    Mexican Red Knee Terantula (Brachypelma smithii)
    Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird-eating Tarantula (Lasiodora parahybana)
    Honduran Curlyhair tarantula (Brachypelma albospilosa)
    Mexican Red Rump Tarantula (Brachypelma vagans)
    Mexican Redleg Tarantula (Brachypelma emilia)

    Emporer Scorpion (Pandinus imperator)

    Green Tree Frog (Litoria caerelea)
    Javan Flying Frog (Rhacophorus reinwardtii)

    Black Pacu (Colossoma macropomum)

    Silvery-cheeked Hornbill (Ceratogymna/Bycanistes brevis)
  4. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

    1 Aug 2010
    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    Nice review FunkyGibbon. I've been to Tropicario once, a couple of years ago, and while it is a small facility, certainly the reptile collection surpasses that of the majority of zoos. The venomous collection is especially large. However, many of the enclosures are too small, especially for the larger monitors and boas/pythons, and the crocodiles. The hornbill exhibit was also awful on my visit, certainly the low point.

    The other low point was the fact that the guy running the place yelled at me when my camera flash went off accidentally, which I guess shows his concern for the reptiles. :cool:
  5. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

    11 Jan 2015
    Birmingham, UK
    In my limited but growing experience a lot of larger reptiles don't get the space I would have thought they need. I appreciate that the larger snakes spend a lot of time digesting but sometimes enclosures are not even big enough to allow them to stretch out to their full length. That may not be a behaviour they exhibit but as a rule I like to see enclosures larger than their inhabitants :confused: Tropicario was better for this than some other places I've visited.
    The other thing that irritated me was that the Water Monitors had a sign explaining that they are strong natural swimmers, yet there was only a shallow bath in the exhibit.
  6. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

    11 Jan 2015
    Birmingham, UK
    Can a mod move this into the newly created Tropicario section? Sorry if there is a more official way of asking for this to be done. Thanks in advance.