Naples Zoo Announces the Opening of Two New South American Habitats

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Naples, FL. October 17, 2023. Naples Zoo is excited to announce the opening of two brand-new South American habitats. These captivating new habitats will transport guests to the grasslands and rainforests of South America, where they will encounter several new species including the Tik-Tok famous capybaras and a 400-pound Baird’s tapir.

In addition to these remarkable creatures, the new South American habitats house a variety of other new species, including a toco toucan, a Southern screamer (large bird), and a coatimundi. The Zoo’s long-time residents, the giant anteater, cotton-top tamarins, red-footed tortoises, and the macaws, also now call the new space home. These new habitats bring the sights and sounds of this diverse region to life. The new space was designed to be a truly immersive and educational experience for guests of all ages.

Quick facts on each new species:

Baird's Tapir, Conservation status: Endangered

General information: Baird’s tapirs are the largest of the three species of tapirs native to South America.  Tapirs are fantastic swimmers. They have four toes on their front feet and three toes on their rear feet. Tapirs are related to horses and rhinoceros.

Capybara, Conservation status: Least concern

General information: Capybaras are the world's largest rodent! They stick together in groups along waterways throughout most of South America. They use the bathroom in the water to avoid being tracked by jaguars. They can run as fast as a horse on land and can dive underwater and stay submerged for up to 5 minutes!

Toco Toucan, Conservation status: Endangered 

General information: Toco toucans are the largest of all toucan species. They can fly, but often prefer to hop from branch to branch. Toco toucans can be very loud. Their most common vocalizations are ‘croaks’ that some describe as ‘frog-like’ and have a range of meanings.

Coatimundi, Conservation status: Least concern

General information: Coatis are omnivorous mammals in the same family as raccoons and kinkajous. Unlike their raccoon relatives, coatis are diurnal, which means they are most active during the day. They use their long, slender tails for balance and communication. They also communicate through vocalizations including grunts, chirps, and clicks.

Southern Screamer, Conservation status: Least concern

General information: Also known as the crested screamer, these large grey birds have a small head and hooked bill. They have two sharp spurs on the forward edges of each wing that they use for defense in the wild. Screamers get their name from their loud call that can be heard two miles away. They are good swimmers but prefer to move on the ground.

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About Naples Zoo

Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization cooperating in conservation programs for endangered species locally and around the world. Admission includes a full day of interactive presentations, Meet-The-Keeper talks and a wild cruise through islands of monkeys, lemurs, and apes.  ($22.95 adults age 13+/ $14.95 children 3 to 12, under 3 free.) Zoo memberships and discount tickets are available online at Naples Zoo is open daily from 9:00 to 4:30 and is located in the heart of Naples at 1590 Goodlette-Frank Road across from the Coastland Center mall.  For more, click, follow them at or call (239) 262-5409.