An Animal Science Adventure at the Montreal Biodome

IMG_20130913_104850When I thought of the Biodome, what sprang to mind were a few small enclosures each with a different kind of environment with maybe one or two animals each (much like a traditional zoo). However, I got way more then I bargained for when we entered the Montreal Biodome, which was filled with enormous thriving ecosystems, which contained a vast number of animals – all indoors. One second you were in lush jungle and only moments later you were in a mountainous forest; not to mention the ocean and tundra that followed. Furthermore, the sheer number of animals that we got to see was amazing. Because they had nearly free reign in every room we got to see how they interacted in their ecosystem and study their behavior.

In the Jungle Dome we saw parrots, crocodiles, vultures, turtles as well as many kinds of fish. As you may expect the crocodiles behavior on land was to conserve energy, sleep and bask in the warm air but what exhibited strange behavior were the turtles. While observing the turtles, we saw one turtle fend off another of its kind trying to climb onto the same rock. After being defeated by the turtle on the rock the swimming turtle then turned on its friends trying to get on the rock snapping at their heads. While not territorial it was quite interesting to see such a display. In the mountainous Dome we saw the Lynx and its kittens, which were, as an anonymous college student states: “ADORABLE”. The mother seemed to be waiting for food as she paced the enclosure frequently and the one kitten that emerged from the den seemed quite intrigued by us.

The next Dome we visited was the ocean. It was amazing as it was like the others lush with life. Birds flew overhead such as gulls and ducks. While lying in the shallows we say hundreds of sea urchins, anemones, and sea cucumbers as well as a wolf fish. In the last Dome they had a glacier environment with many types of birds, the most prominent being penguins. There was an entire community of them interacting with each other. From lazily drifting in the enclosure to huddling next to its kin the penguins were some of the liveliest animals we had seen that day. It was stunning to see one cut through the water after diving in. That said I do remember one penguin who appeared to be trying to intimidate guests near the exit. He would puff himself up and raise his flippers shaking his head rapidly. I would look up this behavior and see if it’s as I thought or some other type of action.

Throughout the trip if constantly felt my old passion for biology returning and my interest in becoming a marine biologist. While having a lot of fun I also learned an interesting amount from both observation and Biodome staff. This was definitely a trip I would take again and would suggest to all those who have not been.

Noah Jones-Drayton, Game Art Major, Fall 2013