- SEA LIFE, Rivers of the World
In this landscape food can be plentiful.
During the wet season, rivers flood the rainforest floor where fruits, nuts and seeds fall. When the dry season returns some fish are trapped in ever-decreasing, muddy pools without food, with little oxygen and no way of escaping predators.
On the river predators can appear from any direction, above or below the water. You've got to be tough to make it in this habitat. Many rainforest creatures are big and toothy but sometimes it's the smallest and most harmless-looking animals which can pack the deadliest punch!
Are you ready for a jungle adventure? Let's go!
Red Bellied Piranhas
These fish have a fearsome reputation but you'll soon discover that this is undeserved and that they are actually rather beautiful! Their bodies appear to be covered in glitter; These sparkling scales make them hard for predators, such as birds, to spot from the riverbank as they look like the sunlight reflecting off the water's surface.
Did you know?
They spend much of their time hovering motionless in the river plants and roots to avoid catching the attention of any hungry Crocs or River Dolphins.
Red Bellies are scavengers that mostly feed on dead or dying creatures and very rarely attack anything that's living. They sometimes take baby birds that fall from their nests and aquatic insects.
Their triangular, serrated teeth, are like steak-knives
Perfectly designed for slicing through flesh - darting in and out whilst feeding in order to grab a mouthful but get out fast before they are accidentally bitten by another Piranha.
The Piranha with the reddest belly is likely to be the most dominant in the group!
Tropical rainforest rivers are notoriously full of BIG freshwater fish and we have plenty of these in Rivers of the World.
Species such as Red Tailed Catfish and Black Pacu are often sold by pet shops when they are very tiny, to owners who only have small tanks. However, these river monsters soon grow large... very large! And big fish need big tanks. So if you're looking for a pet fish, do some research and be sure you can still look after your pet once it's fully grown.
Did you know?
From Pangassius Catfish to the amazing Upside-down catfish. Catfish are raised in freshwater ponds only about four to six feet deep. Did you know that catfish has over 27,000 taste buds!
Whiskers on a Fish?
Catfish get their name from the whisker like appendages on their face called barbels. These are very sensitive and covered in taste buds helping them to seek out food in the murkiest, muddiest of…
One common feature of all breeds of pacu fish is their human-like teeth! When you peel back the “lips” of a pacu, you'll see a mouth that looks and functions quite like yours.
Cousins to Piranhas
The Pacu species are close relatives of Piranhas and have strong teeth for crunching through the tough shells of nuts Fruit seeds consumed by Pacu are dispersed elsewhere, helping new trees to grow.
When you visit you'll come face to face with our Yellow Bellied Terrapins!
Terrapins are often bought when they are very small and cute, but they aren't ideal pets: They need lots of varied food, a heat lamp for sunbathing, lots of water for swimming and they can live for over 40 years!
Boy or Girl?
It's easy to tell! Look for the smallest Terrapins with the longest claws, those are the boys. Males sometimes swim in front of the females, who are much larger than them, and wiggle their long claws in the ladies faces to try and impress them.