Mangrove swamps are mysterious places which are incredibly important in ecological terms, being home to many creatures with weird and wonderful lifestyles. The swamps bridge the gap between land and sea and are regularly inundated with seawater.
The mangrove trees stand in mud on stilt-like roots in the muddy estuaries of large rivers and in the lagoons, bays and tidal creeks found along tropical sea-coasts on both sides of the equator.
Not only do the mangroves provide a refuge from hurricanes and typhoons, they also protect the land against erosion and are used by many species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds as nesting and nursery areas.
Look out for our two very curious Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman which are the smallest New World crocodilian species, with males reaching only 1.5m in length – females are even smaller. They will spot you before you spot them! Don’t miss watching our Aquarists, very carefully, feeding the Caiman!
Archer fish dislodge prey such as insects and spiders from overhanging trees by spitting at them, even compensating for the refraction (bending) of light. If you were as accurate as an archer fish, you could spit at (and hit!) a tennis ball over 10 metres away!