Meet some of the ‘secret’ animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Everyone knows animals live in Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort (after all, it’s in the name), but as we approach Earth Day and the park’s 25th anniversary on April 22, 2023, we wanted to spotlight a few “secret” animals you may not have noticed before.

Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Photos courtesy of Disney

If you’ve been on Kilimanjaro Safaris, you’ve likely spotted some of the 30 different animals that live on Animal Kingdom’s 110-acre Harambe Wildlife Reserve, but the hippos, lions, giraffes, rhinos, and other wildlife guests see on the 18-minute guided expedition aren’t the only animals who call the theme park home; others are hanging out right under your nose.

Some of Animal Kingdom’s “secret” animals, including the Southern Giant Anteater, live in The Oasis Exhibits at the front of the park (before you even reach the Tree of Life). These unique creatures rely on their amazing sense of smell (thanks to long, cylindrical snouts) to compensate for poor eyesight.

"Secret" animals at Animal Kingdom - Anteater

We’ve all snapped selfies in front of the Tree of Life,  but did you know four western grey kangaroos and two red kangaroos live nearby? If you turn left at the Tree of Life photo area, you’ll spot these cute kangaroos to your right.

Insider Tip: If you see a white stripe on the face, that’s a red kangaroo.

"Secret" animals at Animal Kingdom - Kangaroo

Another creature living near the Tree of Life is a Paroon Shark named Bruce. This type of freshwater catfish can grow up to ten feet long.

Fun Fact: The mechanical shark from “Jaws” is also named Bruce. You can see him on the Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood or the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.

"Secret" animals at Animal Kingdom - Catfish

A giant Iguanadon isn’t the only reptile in DinoLand U.S.A.; an American Crocodile named Marley also lives in this part of the park. Check out the snout to tell the difference between Marley and his alligator relatives. American Crocodile snouts are long and narrow, but alligators have broad snouts that are u-shaped.

"Secret" animals at Animal Kingdom - Crocodile

Some of Animal Kingdom’s “secret” animals live in an area that people may not know about: Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Guests can take the Wildlife Express Train and visit the Conservation Station (which features an animation experience) and the Affection Station, the only petting zoo at Walt Disney World Resort and home to adorable Kunkeune Pigs from New Zealand.

"Secret" animals at Animal Kingdom - Pig

Now that you’ve met a few of the “secret” animals at Animal Kingdom, hopefully, you’ll be inspired to visit them the next time you head to the park.

If you want to learn about all the animals who call the theme park home, check out “Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom” on Disney+.

Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom | Official Trailer | Disney+

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