An animal encounter is one of the best things you have to try when you are in Dubai. This type of activity allows people of any age to closely observe and interact with fascinating creatures in an environment that closely mimics their natural habitat. They are fun and worthwhile learning experiences that shouldn’t be missed.
Animal encounters in Dubai, however, are not limited to riding camels or getting glimpses of an Arabian Oryx, caracals, and cape hares in the desert. The city is also home to several non-native species that will pique your curiosity and fascinate both kids and adults.
Below are the eight non-native animals worth seeing up close in Dubai:
As the world’s slowest mammal, you may think that nothing is interesting about this creature. But once you get to see a sloth, you will want to know more about this intriguing animal.
Sloths are mammals that live in the tropical rainforests of South and Central America. They spend 90 percent of their lives hanging upside down on trees. They eat mostly leaves, buds, and tender plant shoots. However, some species also supplement their diet with insects and small birds.
Sloths always seem to be smiling due to their unique facial structure. As such, they look great in photos, even if taken from afar.
Another slow-moving creature, the pygmy slow loris is similar to a sloth since it also lives in trees. It crawls on branches in search of prey such as beetles, caterpillars, crickets, spiders, and weevils. It also eats small birds and mammals occasionally.
This particular species of mammal can be found in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and China. Like sloths, the pygmy slow loris also lives in tropical rainforests, although some dwell in evergreen forests and bamboo groves.
At present, the pygmy slow loris species has a vulnerable status. This means that the animal is facing a high possibility of extinction in the wild in the future. Because of this, various organizations are working hard to conserve these mammals.
If you’re looking for more colorful creatures, you will be happy to know that in Dubai, there are toucans — some of the most well-known birds in the world.
Toucans are birds native to South America. They live in tropical forests, savannas, and shrublands. There are five main types or genera of this avian species, all of which can be distinguished by their colorful long beaks.
Fruits are the main food of toucans. However, they also eat insects and small frogs and reptiles.
Although toucans are birds, they are not that good at flying. They move among trees by hopping. And when they do have the urge or need to fly, they glide and travel only a short distance.
Another animal that will make you swoon with delight is the wallaby.
Wallabies are marsupials, which means they belong in the same family as kangaroos. They also have pouches which they use for carrying their young and they can jump long distances as well. However, they are smaller than the typical Australian roo.
These marsupials can be found in Australia, Tasmania, and Papua New Guinea. They are herbivores that eat grass, leaves, ferns, herbs, and fruits.
Sugar gliders are animals native to Australia, Tasmania, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. They are called gliders because they use a membrane that functions as a parachute which they use to hover from one tree to another.
They are small animals; they can grow only up to six inches in length when fully grown. Sugar gliders can live in various types of forests, but they prefer woodlands made of eucalyptus and acacia. They are arboreal animals, which means they spend most of their time on trees.
Sugar gliders have large eyes which gives them excellent night vision, something that they need since they are nocturnal animals.
These small marsupials are omnivores. They eat insects, lizards, eggs, tiny birds and mammals. Their diet also includes flowers, nectar, and tree sap.
If you are ready to get up close and personal with some exotic animals, you won’t go wrong with looking at some snakes.
You will find one of the largest pythons in Australia in Dubai: the Australian carpet python. These are non-venomous snakes that belong to the carpet python or Morelia spilot family, which can also be found in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and the northern Solomon Islands.
Australian carpet pythons can grow up to 3.5 meters long. They are active and eat at night. Their diet consists primarily of small birds, mammals, and lizards.
Goannas or monitor lizards are huge lizards that are native to Africa, Asia, and Oceana. Lace goanna lizards or tree goannas are the second-largest monitor lizards in Australia. They can grow as long as two meters.
Also known as lace monitors, these large reptiles can be found on the East Coast of Australia. They are excellent tree climbers and, as such, have easy access to one of their favorite foods: bird eggs. They also eat birds, insects, and small mammals and reptiles.
Lace goannas have toes with long, strong claws which they use for digging and climbing.
Although they are not the biggest fish, piranhas are one of the most feared aquatic creatures in the world.
Piranhas are indigent fishes in South America. They live in rivers and lakes, with around 20 different species found in the Amazon River. They are small, with the biggest one only reaching up to 60 centimeters long.
Most people think that piranhas are carnivores. However, they are actually omnivores. As such, they eat fish, snails, aquatic animals and plants, seeds, and fruits. If they devour a large mammal, it would be because the creature fell into the water. Since this does not happen often, piranhas rarely feast on such large animals.
Piranhas move in groups primarily for safety. Hunting and feeding as a group are only secondary objectives.
If you and your family are no longer satisfied with watching animals in movies or TV shows, book an animal encounter in Dubai now. You can see plenty of fascinating non-native wildlife, including the ones listed above, in the world’s first bio-dome: The Green Planet.