Amphibians & fishes
Please note that while we are building our new facility for critically endangered turtles, the Wetland house and the outdoor amphibian-and reptile enclosures are closed. Construction is expected to be completed by the summer of 2023.
The Wetlands at Nordens Ark opened on June 13, 2008, as part of our initiative to save and preserve endangered amphibians. The year 2008 was the Year of the Frog, and IUCN and WAZA, among others, encouraged all zoo parks to do their bit to increase public awareness and understanding of amphibians. A worldwide network of zoos was established so they could work together to ensure the survival of various frog species.
The Wetlands includes a two-storey building showing species from all over the world and showcasing the conservation projects run by Nordens Ark. Outside the Wetlands House, there are displays with different landscapes so that visitors can see frog and reptile species from all over Sweden. There’s a pond with freshwater catfish, which can also be seen inside the Wetlands House. At one end of the building there’s an aviary with Northern bald ibis. As there is a natural watercourse running through the Wetlands, you’ll also find endangered wetland birds such as storks, cranes and geese.
A third of the world's approximately 8,500 species of amphibians are threatened with extinction. The biggest threats to the amphibians are climate change and human exploitation of the areas they live in. They are also threatened by environmental toxins and by diseases such as the infectious disease chytridiomycos caused by a fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis). The disease is believed to have caused the extinction of over 90 species and catastrophic population declines around the world.
Frogs and toads along with salamanders and the lesser known worm amphibians are also called amphibians. The name comes from the Greek which means double-living and refers to the amphibians living both in water and on land. Of the 8,500 species of amphibians, 13 species are found in Sweden, two of these are salamanders, three are toads and eight are frogs. All Swedish amphibian species are protected.
Amphibians are hypothermic, that is, their body temperature is the same as the temperature of the environment. In temperate regions, such as here in Sweden, the amphibians hibernate during the winter and then seek out a frost-free place on land or, for some species, also at the bottom of a pond. Amphibians breathe like adults with lungs, but they can also breathe using their skin. The skin mucus that the amphibians have to prevent the skin from drying out can in some species contain a skin poison, which is most prominent in the group of poison dart frogs. Usually, amphibian young, tadpoles, develop in water and breathe with gills until metamorphosis (transformation), when they change and start breathing with lungs. The young then leave the water to spend their lives on land.
Chytridiomycosis is a global treat for the worlds amphibians. Read here what you can do to avoid spreading infectious amphibian diseases when you're out in nature.