Edinburgh Zoo is home to a wide range of unique animals from all over the world. Some are so unusual in appearance it’s hard to look away, while others emit strange, otherworldly sounds that make you wonder: could I really survive a night in the jungle? Here are seven weird and wonderful animals you can visit at Edinburgh Zoo that must be seen (and heard) to be believed!


White-faced Saki


Definitely on the more unusual side in terms of looks, these inquisitive monkeys are nicknamed “flying monkeys” due to their ability to leap between tree branches. They live in families and sometimes alone, and older siblings will often help look after their younger brothers and sisters. They also have territorial and courtship rituals involving loud calls, like their gibbon relatives. White-faced Saki’s are extremely acrobatic and if you’re lucky you may even catch them performing some of their impressive stunts. Using their tail and limbs they can nimbly swing between branches and even hang upside down from their tail when foraging for food!


Where? Monkey Walkthrough exhibit


Mexican Walking Fish - Axotyl


This adorably odd creature is actually more of a salamander than a fish. The name "axolotl" is thought to come from the Aztec word "atl" meaning water, and "xolotl", meaning monster. It looks nothing like a monster if you ask us (a cute monster maybe). Sadly, these strange little critters are endangered, so the zoo is one of the only places you can see one in person.


Where? Wee Beasties exhibit


Buff-Cheeked Gibbon


If you want to know the key to a successful, long-term relationship just ask a buff-cheeked gibbon (hint: it's singing). Despite their small size, these sweet-looking primates have some seriously impressive vocals. If you're at the zoo in the morning you might catch them mid-song, and it's quite a concert. Gibbons 'sing' to defend their territory and as part of their mating calls. However, they are also monogamous, and partners will sing to each other each morning in an effort to remain close (aww).


Where? The gibbon enclosure near the Mansion House


Buff-Cheeked Gibbon


Margay


This stunning feline has earned its place on this list by being one of the most well-adapted cats for arboreal (tree dwelling) life. It is the only cat with the ability to rotate its hind legs 180° like a squirrel, enabling it to run down trees. It can also hang from branches just on its hind foot! The Margay has large eyes to help it see at night, and a beautiful distinct coat which has unfortunately been exploited by the fur trade. Everything about this majestic feline is completely mesmerising, from its deep saucer eyes to its long, plush tail.


Where? Small Carnivore House


Blue Poison Arrow Frog


Anything with “poison arrow” in its name must be pretty bad-ass, right? The blue poison arrow frog gets its name from the natives who used the toxins excreted from the frog’s skin on the tips of their arrows. This psychedelic amphibian is characterised by its vibrant blue colour and brilliant geometric pattern, which is as unique to an individual frog as a fingerprint is to a human. Strangely, these little guys are seldom found in water because their feet are not webbed like other frogs, however they do have suction cups on their feet for better climbing.


Where? Brilliant Birds exhibit


Blue Poison Arrow Frog resting on a branch


Kirk's Dik Dik


The Buff-cheeked Gibbon may have a contender for 'least likely to divorce' with this little antelope known as Kirk's Dik-Dik (named after the noise it makes, apparently). Once they find their soulmate, they spend the rest of their lives together, raising a family, marking their territory with tears (they secrete sticky liquid from their eyes), and generally living a pretty chill life. Most species of antelope live in herds to stay protected from predators—not dik-diks. They tend to stay with their family until the babies are old enough to move out. How sweet!


Where? African Aviary


Dik Dik in long grass


Grey-legged Douroucouli


Also going by the nicknames ‘night monkeys’ and ‘owl monkeys’ these little guys are the only true nocturnal monkey species. They have large, round saucer eyes to help them see at night, and honestly they look like something out of a Disney movie. Similar to their gibbon cousins, they make a wide range of sounds, from trills to hoots and high-pitched squeaks. But their adorable, wide-awake appearance is what really sets them apart from other small monkey species. They’re just too freakin’ cute!


Where? Small Monkey, Magic Forest exhibit


Ready to plan your trip? Getting to Edinburgh Zoo is easy! Book your train to Edinburgh Zoo to see these magnificent creatures up close!

Back to Edinburgh

Related posts:

Edinburgh Foodie Guide

Be bound for glory

An Insider's guide to Edinburgh

Edinburgh skyline

The local's guide to surviving Hogmanay

An insider’s guide to Glasgow