Sometimes being slow, small or weak can have its advantages. Survival of the Slowest, a new exhibition opening Saturday, Feb. 15, features amazing and adorable live animals that will shed light on overlooked creatures that use their disadvantages to help them survive — and even thrive — in a world where large, strong and fast animals are often the top of the food chain.
Survival of the Slowest explores the fascinating adaptations that certain animals have evolved over millions of years in order to avoid being someone else’s lunch. Presented in both Spanish and English, the exhibit features nearly a dozen natural-looking habitats with live animals, plants and rocks, ideal for viewing a range of live species up close and at length.
Visitors will learn about the surprising survival strategies of a dozen species including Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth, the African pygmy hedgehog, veiled chameleon, green iguana, green basilisk, ball python, and more.
Sloths, for example, grow algae on their fur which helps conceal them in the leafy forest. And being nocturnal helps sloths avoid their main predator — the harpy eagle, a daytime predator.
An animal keeper will be stationed in the exhibit to answer visitor questions, feed the animals their healthy meals, and sometimes to remove an animal from its enclosure so visitors can have an even closer look.
“As climate change and species extinction continue to alter our world, these amazing animals serve to reminds us of nature’s wonder and how much more we need to learn,” said Academy President and CEO Scott Cooper. “It’s more important than ever to connect people with nature and to inspire everyone to care for it.”
Survival of the Slowest will be on view Feb. 15 through Sept. 20.
The Academy is only the second U.S. showing of this exhibit; the first was the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in New York. Survival of the Slowest is produced by Little Ray’s Nature Centres in Ottawa, in collaboration with the Canadian Museum of Nature. Little Ray’s is the largest exotic animal rescue organization in Canada and most of the animals in the exhibit are rescues.
For discounted tickets to Survival of the Slowest, visit ansp.org.
To read a feature story by The Philadelphia Inquirer, click here.
For TV appearances by our cloth, visit CBS 3, NBC 10, PHL 17.
By Carolyn Belardo
Photos by Little Ray’s Nature Centres