Prague Zoo launches new night tours with infrared cameras

The thermal imaging cameras give visitors a unique opportunity to see how the Zoo's animals manage heat and behave in the dark.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky
Published on 11.09.2021 14:20 (updated on 11.09.2021)

Prague Zoo has launched a new series of night tours during which visitors can use infrared cameras and other night-vision equipment to observe how its animals look and behave at night and under the cover of darkness. Zoo director Miroslav Bobek introduced the tours to local media on Friday.

Using the cameras, visitors will be able to look around the Zoo as if through the eyes of some of its nocturnal inhabitants, Bobek said.

With the infrared cameras, visitors will be able to see how species manage heat throughout their bodies.

Flamingos, for example, stand on one leg and hold the other close to their bodies to warm it. Through the infrared cameras, observers will be able to see the transfer of heat as the standing leg cools before the flamingo switches legs.

Visitors will also be able to see animals through night-vision devices, which boost available light levels and allow users to see in near-dark conditions. The night-vision devices produce the kind of sight used by owls and other nocturnal predators.

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The night tours will also incorporate UV lights to observe other species. Scorpions glow a bright blue-green under ultraviolet light, for purposes that are still not fully understood.

Bobek noted that Prague Zoo was one of the only zoos in the world that uses this kind of advanced technology for educational purposes.

"Actually, it all started when a couple of colleagues and I walked through the darkened zoo and thought about how to re-capture its evening and night tours," he noted.

"After all, a large number of our animals become more active at dusk or at night."

Prague Zoo's new night tours last ninety minutes, and come with a guide that will field questions from small groups of visitors.

The tours can be booked from the Zoo's eshop, and cost 1000 crowns per guest. The night tours are available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays in September and October, in blocks starting at 8:00 and 8:30 p.m.

While the Zoo's main dining facilities are closed during the evening, the night tours will also include a special selection of refreshments.

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