Barcelona Zoo

by Arūnas
Bornean orangutans
Barcelona Zoo is a 13-ha (32 ac) zoological garden in the capital of Catalonia. It is visited every year by more than 1 million people.

The zoo was opened in 1892 and today is home to 4,000 animals from over 400 species. It became world-famous for being home to the only known albino gorilla, Copito de Nieve (Snowflake), who died in 2003. 

Barcelona Zoo is a member of the European and World Associations of Zoos and Aquariums. More than 85% of the species present in the zoo are included in the Red List of the IUCN – International Union for the Conservation of Nature. About 30% of the animals born at the Barcelona Zoo in recent years have been released into their natural habitat.

My favorite animals at the Barcelona Zoo

Chinese alligator

In the wild, the Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis) lives only in the Yangtze River basin on the east coast of China and is in danger of extinction as a result of habitat destruction. However, the species is well-bred in captivity and about 10,000 individuals exist in the world’s zoos.

Chinese alligator at Barcelona Zoo
Chinese alligator eye

These alligators are considered one of the calmest representatives of crocodilians and can only bite a human for self-defense purposes. Life expectancy is more than 50 years.

The species’ status on the IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered.

Black-tailed prairie dogs

The Black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) is a stout, short-legged rodent native to the Great Planes of North America. They are the most social of ground-dwelling sciurids.

Black-tailed prairie dogs at Barcelona Zoo
Two prairie dogs

The species’ status on the IUCN Red List: Least Concern.

Giant Asian pond turtle

The Giant Asian pond turtle (Heosemys grandis) is one of the largest aquatic turtles in Asia, reaching 45 cm (17.7 in) in length. Together with the yellow-headed temple turtle (Hieremys annandalii), the species is revered by the locals and kept in temples where the animals are protected and fed, such as Wat Prayun, the world-famous Buddhist temple complex in Bangkok, Thailand. In Buddhism, turtles represent endurance and longevity.

Giant Asian pond turtle at Barcelona Zoo
Giant Asian pond turtle in a large aquarium

The species’ status on the IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.

Pygmy hippopotamus

The Pygmy hippopotamus (Hexaprotodon liberiensis) leads a semi-aquatic lifestyle, prefer to live alone, and is not inclined to protect its territory. The species is native to West Africa where the current population is estimated at 2000 individuals. Fortunately, the Pygmy hippopotamus is bred well in zoos.

Pygmy hippopotamus at Barcelona Zoo
Pygmy hippopotamus

The species’ status on the IUCN Red List: Endangered.

Southern Ground-hornbill

The Southern Ground-hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri) is the largest (90–120 cm/2–3 ft long) species of the hornbills family and the only true predator among these birds – in the dry season, it feeds on frogs, snakes, and turtles; sometimes can even catch squirrels and mongooses. The bird is native to the southern regions of Africa.

Southern Ground-hornbill at Barcelona Zoo
Adult male Southern Ground-hornbill

The species’ status on the IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.

Giant anteater

The Giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) is an insectivorous edentate mammal native to Central and South America. The species can reach 2 m (7 ft) long from the tip of its snout to the end of its tail.

Giant anteater at Barcelona Zoo
Giant anteater

A specialized tongue allows them to eat up to 35,000 ants and termites each day. These animals are not immune to ant bites, so they feed at an ant or termite colony for just a minute or so before moving on.

The species’ status on the IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.

Greater flamingo

The Greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is the most common species of flamingo. The global population is estimated at 500,000 individuals, of which around 90,000 occur in Europe. These birds are monogamous and nests in colonies of several hundred and even thousands of pairs closely with each other.

Graceful Greater flamingo at Barcelona Zoo
Graceful Greater flamingo

The species’ status on the IUCN Red List: Least Concern.

Bornean orangutan

The Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) is one of the three existing species of orangutans. It is endemic to Borneo, the only sea island divided between three countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. These animals are herbivores that feed mainly on fruits, also on leaves, young shoots, and tree bark.

Bornean orangutan at Barcelona Zoo
Bornean orangutan

There are currently about twelve to fifteen thousand animals in Borneo. Indonesia has the fastest deforestation rate in the world and vast areas of its rainforests are being replaced with rows and rows of a single type of tree – the oil palm. Wildlife cannot survive in these plantations. If you are interested in supporting the Orangutan Foundation International, please visit their official website

The species’ status on the IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered.

Humboldt penguins

Like all penguins, the Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) is highly adapted to life in the water. The world population totals 12,000 pairs, of which 8,000 nest in Chile and 4,000 in Peru.

Humboldt penguins
Humboldt penguins

Due to the endangerment of the Humboldt penguin, breeding in zoos is extremely important for species conservation.

The species’ status on the IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.

Lowland tapir

The Lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) is the largest land mammal in Brazil. The species inhabits lowland regions of South America and prefers a water-rich environment. These nocturnal animals are threatened by predatory hunting and conversion of their habitats into cultivated fields.

The species status on the IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.

Lowland tapir
Resting Lowland tapir

I enjoyed the visit to the Barcelona zoo. I spent three hours there and still did not see everywhere, it is huge. All the animals seem to be so relaxed and showing no sign of stress yet the space was surprisingly small. I would come here again!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Useful information
Parc de la Ciutadella
08003, Barcelona, Catalonia

10:00–19:00 (every day)

21,40 € (full).

Barcelona map

The zoo is located in the Parc de la Ciutadella, the northeastern part of the historic center of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Where to stay: Best Hotels in Barcelona, Spain

I hope you enjoyed my Barcelona Zoo post. If you love animals and like visiting aquariums and zoos, here are a few more posts that I recommend you read next:

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