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Small Mammals and Nocturnal Animals

The small mammals and nocturnal animals are accommodated in two separate places.

The Small Mammals House can only be reached via a glasshouse, the so-called Conservatory ("Wintergarten"). The Conservatory is the fourth and largest of the seven glasshouses, which are to be found immediately adjacent to the Main Entrance along Neckartal road. The Small Mammals House is a special tip for everyone who adores extra small furry creatures. It begins in a relaxed and contemplative way with a pair of Southern two-toed sloths who – just look carefully – regularly have young ones. From the large group of rodents that exist, we show you, for example, the rare and amusing little Cuban hutias, the pretty plantain squirrels, moustached plains viscachas, as well as the gundis, which inhabit the deserts and belong to the family of animals that have bristly "combs" on the undersides of their feet. And who knows the tailless tenrec from Madagascar and knows that a single female can bear as many as 29 young ones at a time? Short-eared elephant shrews are not much longer than their name in print, and, with their little bead-like eyes and mobile noses, they head the top ten list of Wilhelma's most favourite sponsored animals.

The House for Nocturnal Animals is also only accessible through a glasshouse.
The so-called Moorish Villa is between the Aquarium and the Sub Tropics Terraces.

You can reach the House for Nocturnal Animals from the upper gallery of the Moorish Villa. The department for Nocturnal Animals was installed in 1962, and it was the first time in Europe that nocturnal animals were shown to the public by a trick – day and night are swapped round. During visiting hours it is dark there, with only a faint light comparable to moonlight. At night, then, it is light as day.
Apart from nocturnal small mammals and bats, one can also see nocturnal water creatures in this department.

Lesser mouse lemurs from Madagascar, lesser Malayan mousedeer from Indonesia, the African dormouse and Australian sugar gliders belong to the small mammals. The main attractions are of course the bats and the fruit bats. These belong to the bat family; and are nocturnal mammals that fly actively. Only the bats themselves use echolocation to find their way around. Fruit bats can grow very large, with a wingspan of up to 1.7 metres. Surinam toads, lantern fish, the giant salamander and the primeval-looking axolotl from Mexico, amongst others, represent the nocturnal water creatures.