Berlin aquarium’s tuataras

Dieser Beitrag auf Deutsch.

Berlin has a very nice aquarium, which doesn’t only house fish, but also reptiles, amphibians and insects. I rarely go, though, because the entrance fee is much higher for me than the zoos, and especially because it is cramped if you need to bring a stroller. Going from floor to floor – 1st has the fishes, 2nd the reptiles, 3rd the amphibs and insects – is also a problem with a stroller. There is a lift, but that serves too many floors to make waiting tolerable if the place is full.

Recently, I went there with all three children (thus please excuse that my photo harvest was not really bountiful and is not of great quality), and because the weather was nice the aquarium was not packed. Thus, it turned into a very nice visit, and we even got to use the lift once. The second time I carried the stroller two stories up, though.

The aquarium has quite a few impressive exhibits, including the world’s first walk-through one (for crocs), and I’ll post on them later. Today, as the title says, I’ll show you a few photos of the tuataras. It was actually the first time I ever managed to spot them in their large, highly structured and rather dark cage! 🙂 So, let’s play Find the Tuatara together:

tuatara_01

Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus), well hidden!

This photo was taken with the lens touching the glass, at 70mm, so I actually zoomed in quite a bit. The tuatara was quite close to the glass, considering the size of the terrarium – and just because it decided not to sit in an exposed place it is already hard to see. While I was busy photographing, holding the camera high above my head to get a clear shot over the grass (thus it was obvious I had found something interesting [i.e., the animal!]), several people walked up and failed to spot the tuatara, despite repeated attempts by me to show them where exactly it was. Some made it, most didn’t.

A second animal was sitting between a bunch of bare rocks that channel a small stream through the terrarium. Easy spotting, one might think. Not so – the place is dark and I couldn’t even get my camera to focus despite using the flash to light the scene.

Thus, I am glad I did manage a few good shots. No saying if the next ten visits might yield such a good opportunity again! It took me a lot of acrobatics and time, but hey, how often do you see a living tuatara?

tuatara_04

all in all, I had to turn the ISO up way too high, was standing there on tip-toes of one foot on a tiny ledge knee-high above the ground, grasping the frame of the glass separating me from the tuataras with my left hand, holding the camera as high as I could with my right, which additionally had to operate it, and peered up at the tiny screen to see what exactly I was taking photos of. I’ve done harder positions for taking photos, but never combined with such atrocious lighting conditions.

And then it dawned on me: I was holding the camera at quite an angle to the glass, so high that the glass was free of dirty-grubby-finger smears. And the subject was less than 3 meters away………. FLASH ON and……

presto!

tuatara_02
Satisfied, I finally listened to the moaning and whining of my children and resumed my previous task fo buying them ice cream.

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About Heinrich Mallison

I'm a dinosaur biomech guy working at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
This entry was posted in Aquariums, Reptilia (non-archosaur). Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Berlin aquarium’s tuataras

  1. Pingback: Brückenechsen im Aquarium Berlin | dinosaurpalaeo auf Deutsch

  2. TomT says:

    Very nice. I’d love to see one live. Apparently the San Diego Zoo has one or more; if so, that’s my likeliest chance of seeing one (short of going to New Zealand, which I would also love to do, someday!)

  3. SciaticPain says:

    I wonder why these guys never got popular in the pet trade. Probably too endangered and rare? Have not really looked at the reason though… Although very rare I can’t help but wonder how invasive they could be if they got off the island or where they would likely do good?

  4. Pingback: Extante Reptielen foto’s , Links | Tsjok's blog

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