6 Fascinating Creatures You Will Meet in Dubai’s Indoor Rainforest
When in Dubai, people usually just expect to visit ultramodern skyscrapers and try camel-back riding in the warm desert dunes. However, one particular attraction has changed the way people see the city: The Green Planet.
This biodome situated in the heart of Dubai houses an indoor rainforest where over 3,000 species of plants and animals thrive. In fact, it also serves as a place where both tourists and residents of Dubai can encounter creatures from the Land Down Under – the Australian Walkabout.
Of course, animals native to Australia aren’t the only ones that make the place awesome. To help you plan for your trip to Dubai’s rainforest-in-a-dome, below is a list of six fascinating creatures from all over the world that you can expect to meet:
Sloths are known for moving extremely slowly and hanging from trees all day. This is what gave these arboreal mammals a reputation for being lazy, particularly because they sleep an average of 15 hours a day.
Typically found in the rainforests of South and Central America, sloths can stay on the exact same tree for years, thanks to their huge hooked nails.
A sloth’s diet is composed mostly of twigs, leaves, and buds. But what’s interesting about it all is the way they eat. Since they don’t have incisors, sloths smack their lips firmly to trim down leaves, twigs, and buds when they eat.
Fortunately, they don’t need to eat much because of their metabolic rate. Their slow metabolism also makes them move at a sluggish pace, and they only reach about 41 yards a day.
These palm-sized possums native to the forests of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Australia are also present in Dubai’s indoor forest. Sugar gliders are tree-dwelling marsupials that can glide through the entire length of a soccer pitch in just a single trip.
While they may look like they are flying, sugar gliders use the thin skin that runs from their fifth forefinger down to their back ankle as “wings” to carry them in the air. Plus, they have bushy tails that serve as rudders when they soar.
Thriving in cool-temperate and tropical climates, sugar gliders are usually compared to flying squirrels since they travel from tree to tree in the same manner. However, sugar gliders can be classified under the marsupial family (like kangaroos) while flying squirrels belong to the rodent family.
Sugar gliders are also nocturnal, which means they are most active in the evening and asleep during the day. Fortunately, they have large black eyes that help them see in the dark.
Piranhas are fish popularly known for their aggression and razor-sharp teeth that allow them to bite off mouth-sized chunks of flesh from other creatures. This earned them a reputation for being one of the more dangerous fish in the world, as demonstrated in the 1978 film named after them.
But while piranhas do have sharp teeth, not all of them are carnivorous. Believe it or not, different species of piranha have varying diets, making it challenging to classify them taxonomically. Aside from their diet, these water predators are also difficult to tell apart because of their teeth, geographic range, and coloration.
Seba’s fruit bats will also welcome you during your tour of Dubai’s indoor forest. These short-tailed flying creatures categorized under the Phyllostomidae family are usually found in the northern portions of South America, the Antilles islands, and Central America.
Aside from adding interest to tours, fruit bats also serve another purpose in the indoor rainforest – to aid in the propagation of fruit trees. Since their diets are composed mostly of fruits, they help disperse seeds around the premises to keep the rainforest alive.
In its version of the Bat Cave, Dubai’s indoor rainforest offers a new trail where guests can follow the path of short-tailed Seba’s fruit bats; this trail is dimly lit to keep the nocturnal animals comfortable. There, you’ll find these fascinating creatures either hanging from the cave’s crevices eating fruit and nectar or flitting around.
Popular for being cold-blooded animals, reptiles are fascinating creatures that are covered in either bony plates or scales, or a combination of both.
From snakes and turtles to lizards and chameleons, Dubai’s indoor rainforest has it all. Here are some quick and interesting facts you should know about some of the reptiles you’ll meet there:
Native to the deserts and rainforests of Africa, chameleons are interesting reptiles that are capable of changing the color of their skin – which is a natural green hue – to camouflage them in their surroundings. Aside from serving as a way to hide from predators, this ability also allows chameleons to sneak around to catch food.
One interesting fact about snakes is that some of them can go without eating anything for months. In fact, bigger constrictors like the reticulated python and the anaconda opt to eat a single large meal instead of several smaller ones. Also, they have slower metabolisms, which means one big meal can sustain them longer.
Turtles are the best example of reptiles with bodies covered by a bony structure. Their shells serve as their protection, particularly against predators. In fact, while many animals have evolved to acquire shells, none are as architecturally sound as turtles.
Aside from land- and sea-loving creatures, Dubai’s biodome also houses air-traveling animals: birds. In the rainforest, you’ll find caiques and other small parrots as well as majestic toucans.
Classified under the genus Pionites, the caiques are a species of parrot with relatively stocky and small bodies. They have square and short tails and sport feathers in a vibrant array of colors.
They can live as long as 40 years and are known to thrive in two hemispheres of South America’s Amazon Basin: the black-headed living in the north and the white-bellied in the south.
Meanwhile, toucans are tropical American forest birds under the family Ramphastidae that are famous for their massive and boldly colored bills. Some species can grow up to 60 centimeters or 24 inches long, like the red-breasted, green-billed Amazonian toucan.
One interesting thing about this type of bird is that one-third of its entire length is comprised of its bill. But while they may seem too bulky and heavy for the birds, toucan’s bills are actually very light since they are made from keratin-covered lightweight bone.
Meet Wild Animals Indoors
Dubai is home to a wider variety of wildlife than you can imagine. Learn more about all of them in the city’s indoor rainforest. Even better, study up on the creatures first before you head there. This article should be able to get you started.