Deserts Biome: Dry Climate, Amazing Animals

The Deserts Biome at the Indianapolis Zoo offers visitors a glimpse of a true desert environment in a contained, safe environment right in the heart of Indianapolis. The desert comes alive because of the staff’s particular attention to detail.

The staff even went so far as to make molds of rocks in the Arizona deserts so they could reproduce them with integrity. These giant rocks line the visitor’s walkway and shape themselves into an authentic riverbed and canyon where some of the many creatures in the Deserts Biome dwell. Other zoo inhabitants enjoy more formal exhibit areas, glassed in for viewing and carefully monitored for climate control.

A video of Komodo Dragons at the Indianapolis Zoo Deserts Biome in Indianapolis

As zoo visitors lift up their eyes inside this desert habitat, they see an enormous transparent dome that lets the sunlight in so the wildlife in the Deserts Biome can sun themselves on the rocks. Another nicety strictly for the creatures’ benefit is the tubing hidden throughout the rocks, where little creatures can hide or cool off in the shade.

Among the tons of desert environment residents under the dome are birds, meerkats, iguanas, tortoises and a variety of stunning snakes, all of which are bound to be a hit for Indianapolis kids and adults alike.

All the creatures under the Indianapolis Zoo’s care are well looked after. A good example is the humble desert tortoise, for whom the Zoo provides a specialized chill box during its periods of natural hibernation. In addition, the Indianapolis Zoo is renowned the world over for its highly successful in-zoo breeding programs, and the Deserts Biome has produced several of its own successes. Rare, endangered iguanas, for example, were born in captivity for the first time inside the Indianapolis Zoo.

Reptiles, birds and mammals are represented inside the Deserts Biome, including such exotic breeds as the rhinoceros iguana, the African pancake tortoise, the Australian snake-necked turtle, the inland bearded dragon, the Mali spiny-tailed agama, the blue tongue skink, the slender-tailed meerkat and several types of desert birds. It’s likely that Indianapolis residents won’t get a chance to see these creatures anywhere else, so a visit to the Deserts Biome is one of the most interesting things to do in Indianapolis.

Inside the Deserts Biome are several exhibits given over to the glory of snakes. Visitors can see the “Snakes as Art”, “What a Snake Is” and “What a Snake Does” galleries, take in the image gallery’s habitat wall and even rest atop a life sized reproduction of a 33-foot long python, the world’s largest snake, a full 16″  in diameter.

Far from a simple expanse of sand, this Indianapolis attraction is a botanist’s dream. The Indy Zoo Deserts Biome exhibits more than 250 different plants and trees indigenous to deserts, including the desert rose, the pony tail palm, the baobab and the boojum tree. The Zoo maintains a special separate staff of horticultural experts to care for these living plants and trees.

The Deserts Biome isn’t the only unique environment at the Indianapolis Zoo. There are four such exhibits: the Encounters Biome, the Forest Biome, the Oceans Biome, and the Plains Biome. Visit them all to get the full Indianapolis Zoo experience!

For more information on the Indianapolis Zoo Deserts Biome, please visit the zoo’s Deserts Biome homepage.

The Indianapolis Zoo
1200 W Washington St
Indianapolis, IN 46222

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