Adelaide Zoo exhibits more than 1,400 native and exotic mammals, birds, reptiles and fish. Over the past decade, Adelaide Zoo has shifted from an emphasis on quantity of specimens to its quality of animal management and display.

As you wander around the Zoo you will see, on each exhibit, signs describing the species with a map showing distribution throughout the world.



Primates (both higher and lower order) are well represented in the Zoo and include:


Carnivores are savage hunters, possessing sharp teeth and claws to help catch and kill their prey. Many species are exhibited including:

Even-toed or Cloven-hoofed Mammals

Even-toed or cloven-hoofed animals form a large group of the world’s mammals. an is divided into three sub-groups: pigs; camels and llamas, and the largest group, which includes sheep, cattle, deer and antelopes.

With the exception of the pigs and hippopotamus, all species are known as ruminants. Food is first swallowed and digested, then returned to the mouth where it is chewed and broken into smaller pieces to help digestion. This process, called ‘chewing the cud’ is repeated many times a day. It is particularly obvious in the giraffe. Ruminants are generally grazing animals, although a few species browse on leaves. In the Zoo they are fed a diet of hay and pellets, with grass, leaves and fruit also available.

Odd-toed hoofed Mammals

Odd-toed hoofed mammals include rhinoceros, tapirs, zebras, horses and donkeys. Species kept at the Adelaide Zoo are the Brazilian and Malayan tapir and Chapman’s zebra. Przewalski’s horses are kept at the Monarto Zoological Park.


Marsupials occur not only in Australia and in New Guinea and its adjoining islands but also in the Americas. They are recognised by the fact that the after the foetus has developed inside the mother’s uterus it is born in an undeveloped state and crawls into a pouch which contains the mother’s teats.

Marsupials Marsupials exhibited at Adelaide Zoo include:


Adelaide Zoo has been famous for many years for its bird collection, particularly the extensive exhibits of Australian species. Emphasis in recent years has moved from the older, purely avicultural type of display to habitat exhibits. These feature a range of species from a particular habitat in exhibits appropriately planted and landscaped.

This has far more educational benefit and is aesthetically more pleasing.


Reptiles help to maintain the balance of nature by controlling the numbers of small mammals, amphibians, other reptiles and insects.

The majority of reptiles, including all Australian lizards, are not venomous and pose no threat to man. Many species of Australian snakes, however, are extremely venomous and should be left well alone.

There are only two species of venomous lizards in the world, both native to the southern U.S.A. and Mexico. The Gila monster is one and can be seen in the reptile house. Other interesting exotic species here are the boa constrictor, anaconda, Arubra rattlesnake and Rhinoceros Viper.

Reptiles are exhibited in the temperature controlled environment of the reptile house. This building, opened in 1985 and extended in 1993, has 17 exhibits of snakes, lizards and tortoises.

There are a number of outside exhibits surrounding the reptile house, which feature Johnstone’s freshwater crocodiles, American alligators and Aldabra giant tortoises. A new exhibit has recently been opened featuring Fijian Iguanas.