Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park is home to some of the most popular animal exhibits and attractions in central Florida. Kilimanjaro Safaris is routinely viewed as one of the top-rated Disney Park attractions in general, and the park’s animal walking trails include looks at exotic creatures like Sumatran Tigers, Silverback Gorillas, and more.
Still, some Guests continue to view Animal Kingdom as a “half-day” park, when the truth is, with so many animals to see, experiencing everything that park has to offer will barely fit into a full day! Here are some fascinating animals that live in the Disney Park you may have missed to add to your list during your next visit.
Northern Pintail Ducks in the Oasis Exhibits
This migratory bird species is one of the first animals Guests will encounter on their way into Disney’s Animal Kingdom if they keep their eyes peeled that is. The Northern Pintail Ducks can be spotted in the Oasis Exhibits, the area that is all too easy for Guests to miss as they hurry into the park toward Discovery Island. If you stop and take a moment to check out the animals here though, you’ll find this gorgeous duck species.
In the wild, Northern Pintail Ducks generally live near lakes, rivers, marshes, swamps and tundra wetlands throughout North America as well as parts of central Europe to southern Asia, South America, Africa, and the Pacific Islands, but Guests visiting Walt Disney World can spot them just beyond the entrance to Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
These aren’t the only migratory birds that call Walt Disney World home. Outside of Animal Kingdom, the resort has over 8,000 acres of wetland and upland designated as a wildlife protection area that serves as the winter home for many bird species. And, in total, Walt Disney World is home to more than 200 species of birds when factoring in seasonal visitors and year-round residents!
Related Post: Disney for the Birds: How to Enjoy the Birds at Disney World
Babirusa in the Oasis Exhibits
Another underrated animal to spot in the Oasis Exhibits is the Babirusa! The Babirusa had its 15 minutes of fame on the Disney+ documentary series, The Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you can see this unique species of wild hog in real life as you enter the park. In the wild, the Babirusa can be found in Indonesian rainforests, specifically on the islands of Sulawesi, Togian, Sula, and Buru.
Disney’s Animal Care team works closely with the Species Survival Plan as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for responsible breeding of animals like the Babirusa. And, Disney’s scientists have come up with useful data in this area that has been helpful for the rest of the animal reproductive biologist community in ensuring the Babirusa sees continued success in the wild.
Galapagos Tortoise on the Discovery Island Trails
Some of Animal Kingdom’s Galapagos Tortoises just celebrated their 10th birthday last month, and while they are often easily missed as Guests enter the park and make their way through the trails around the Tree of Life, they are totally worth the visit!
Fully grown Galapagos Tortoises weigh about 600 pounds, but you’ll see varying sizes of them during your trip. These tortoises are endangered in the wild, but along with conservation efforts from Disney and other organizations, these animals use their carapace (shell) to protect themselves. While the shells are actually light despite their heavy appearance, the inside is made up of an internal honeycomb-like structure that allows the tortoises to move freely while staying protected.
American Crocodile in DinoLand U.S.A.
You may not realize there are any living animals in DinoLand U.S.A., but there is one and you don’t want to miss it! The crocodile in DinoLand U.S.A. is named Marley, and for DinoLand Cast Members, saying hello to him is even part of their daily opening checklists.
American crocodiles like Marley use their colors to camouflage themselves in murky waters, but the state of the waters in their natural habitat is part of why this species is considered vulnerable. If you happen to come across a croc in the wild, you can help them (and yourself!) but not feeding them, and working to keep the waters they live in clean will always, too.
While you should certainly take a walk along the Maharajah Jungle Trek to see the tigers and bats, Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail to see the gorillas, and all of the incredible animals on Kilimanjaro Safaris (including giraffes, lions, elephants, hippos, rhinos, and more), be sure to spend some time exploring the rest of the park and seeing all of the unique animals who live there during your next trip!