Exotics and Nocturnals

Our Nocturnals and Exotics House opened in 2020 and offers the opportunity to meet some fascinating exotic and nocturnal creatures, many of which you can’t see anywhere else in Essex. Find out more about our fruit bats, sugar guilders, skunk, tenrec, snakes, tree frogs, lizards, toads and more. Join the daily talks for up close encounters, click here for timings.

Crocodile (Paleosuchus palpebrosus) and Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii)

Least Concern – IUCN Red List  and Vulnerable – IUCN Red List

By far the largest exotic resident in the nocturnal house is Smee our African Dwarf Crocodile, you can spot him basking under his heat lamp or taking a dip in his pool.

More like a modern age dinosaur but with a history that dates back 215 million years to the prehistoric era, the alligator snapping turtle, who can get as big as a car tire and have the bite force of 300 pounds OUCH!

Egyptian Fruit Bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus)

Least Concern – IUCN Red List

We have a colony of nine male and female bats that are breeding.  They spend most of their time hanging out together eating fruit and cleaning each other.  They are a must see when coming to Barleylands Farm Park.

Bats use a form of hearing called eco-location, this means they use sounds that bounce off of walls to locate things.

Skunk (Mephitidae)

Least Concern – IUCN Red List

We have a pair of  beautiful American Striped Skunk called Primrose and chip.  She is a very friendly young skunk who loves food and long naps using her tail as a blanket and he is a playful, energetic skunk who likes to sniff around his enclosure to find nay snacks.

A skunk’s forefeet are armed with five long, curved claws adapted for digging.

Sugar Gliders (Petaurus breviceps)

Least Concern – IUCN Red List

We have a female called Lilo and a male called Stitch who are an adorable couple, who have a just as adorable little family.  They love tucking into fruit, veg and bugs. You can find them snuggling together on a branch or running on their wheel.

Sugar Gliders are characterised by a pair of gliding membranes, which extend from their forelegs to its hindlegs. They use them to glide to reach food and escape predators.


Tenrec (Echinops telfairi) 

Least Concern – IUCN Red List

We have a female common tailless Tenrec called Marge, she is a hairy mammal with a very powerful sense of smell and especially sensitive whiskers.  She is a team favourite and can be often found having a snooze with a full belly of grubs.


We also have two lesser hedgehog tenrecs Spike and Barbara.

Tenrecs are only found in Madagascar in the wild.

Gambian Pouched Rat (Cricetomys gambianus)

Least Concern – IUCN Red List

Though rats get a bad reputation these loveable two Benjamin and Gambino are a sweet pair.

Did you know that Gambian rats are used in countries to detect bombs and landmines underground, to prevent anyone from harm until they are disabled.


Bearded Dragon (Pogona) Least Concern – IUCN Red List

We have wide range of wonderful lizards, who mostly come in pairs,  such as our frilled lizards who are called Richard and David,(Chlamydosaurus kingii) Least Concern – IUCN Red List and we have two Casque-Headed Iguanas, we also have two Egyptian Spiny-tailed lizards and two Madagascan day geckos.  The team have designed each of their environments to reflect their natural habitats, this turns spotting them into a game.

There is also a venomous lizard called the Gila monster, but don’t panic, they mostly love to sleep.

See if you can spot the smallest lizard to the largest one.

Ferrets (Mustela putorius furo)

No Conservation Status

At the end of the Bird of Prey Display walkthrough you will find to enclosures of ferrets, these energetic and wriggly animals do come with a certain “aroma” that may take some time to get use to.

Take a minute to watch them chase each other around, climbing the walls, darting into tunnels and jumping from platform to platform, or you may find the family cuddled up in a big group hug snoozing away.



Reticulated Python (Malayopython reticulatus) – Least Concern – IUCN Red List + Grey Rat Snake (Elaphe spiloides) Endangered – IUCN Red List

We have lots of breeds of snake living in the Exotic Area, including an African House Snake called Neils, Green Tree Pythons called Gwen and Gareth to the more common royal python such as Penelope.

We are home to some VERY BIG snakes called reticulated pythons, who include Nagini, who reaches just over 18ft

Frogs and toads 

Pixie bullfrog (Pyxicephalus edulis) Least Concern – IUCN Red List

Our fascinating frogs at the farm has a long term resident called Barry who is a 15 year old African bullfrog, we also are home to Borneo Eared Frogs, Boris and Belinda, an African Bull Frog called Barry, a White Tree Frog called Tim and Copes Grey Tree Frogs.

The frogs come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, some are only as big as your finger nail.


Sun Beetle (Pachnoda marginata peregrina) Least Concern – IUCN Red List

See what you can spot in the vivarium’s, from Giant African Land Snails who can lay up to 500 eggs at a time, to the Madagascan hissing cockroaches and the giant African millipedes, who have around 250 legs.


Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni) Vulnerable –  IUCN Red List

Across the farm you may find lots of species of tortoise, these “slow moving” creatures have a gentle nature and can often be found grazing on grass, there are over 50 breeds of tortoise, some we have at the farm are the large sulcata tortoise and the Indian star, you may also find a red footed tortoise to.

You can spot some in the show arena field, the exotic reptile house and within the wallaby walk enclosure.


Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) Least Concern – IUCN Red List

We have an Axolotl called Arnold and a Tiger Salamander called Randle, they are very interesting creatures with skin that feels gummy.

Arnold is a very popular pet now due to the release or the characters in the Minecraft game.

These guys needs to stay moist to breath through their skin, they also molt layers once every month or so until they reach their adult size.


Mexican Red Knee Tarantula (Brachypelma hamorii) Near Threatened – IUCN Red List

We have some creepy crawlies in the nocturnal house who may be hard to find, just look out for the webs.

Our Tarantulas have super senses and can spot you coming from meters away, if they get scared they can flick their legs hairs off their body to irritate their predator.