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Survival of The Slowest: New Live Animal Exhibit Is Inching Into South Florida

June 6, 2024

Sometimes being slow, small or weak can have its advantages in Survival of the Slowest, the newest summer traveling exhibit presented by Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, set to open June 7 at the Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS). Guests will get an in-depth look at the often-overlooked species that evolved to slow down as part of their survival strategy in a world where large, strong and fast animals are often at the top of the food chain. The exhibit runs through September 5, 2024.

The exhibit will feature 14 habitats with live animals (17 species) and plants. Guests will get an up-close look at wildlife with daily presentations featuring a sloth, a tarantula, tortoises, a hedgehog, a blue-tongued skink and more* via wildlife educators and MODS’ Life Sciences staff. Meet animals that have survived for millions of years despite being very slow and learn about the puzzling sides of evolution and adaptation. Discover the difference between warm- and cold-blooded species, explore why some animals need less food than others and see the unique ways they hide from predators.

“Wildlife education and conservation is such an important aspect of learning for us at MODS and we’re pleased to introduce both new and familiar creatures to our animal collection during this limited exhibit run,” said Joseph P. Cox, President and CEO of MODS. “This new exhibit explores wildlife from diverse ecosystems and is sure to be a family favorite!”

This educational exhibit looks at the different survival strategies of various species. How can slow and steady win the race? Does bigger always mean better? What animals benefit from being weak rather than strong? This exhibit looks at the advantages and disadvantages of these different traits.

“We couldn't be more pleased to have worked with the Museum of Discovery and Science on our newest touring exhibition, Survival of the Slowest,” said Paul ‘Little Ray’ Goulet, Founder of Little Ray's Exhibitions and Little Ray's Nature Centres. “I thank the Museum for partnering with us to share our passion for animals and biodiversity through this new show.”

Here are some interesting facts about our slow-footed (and non-footed) animal friends!

Most slow animals, including sloths, use camouflage to avoid predation—you don’t have to run away if you can’t be seen. Other slowpokes, such as tortoises, lionfish and porcupines, have evolved armor and/or venom to deter attacks.

Did you know that sloths grow algae on their fur, which helps conceal them in their leafy habitat?

Being nocturnal helps sloths avoid their main predator, the Harpy eagle, which is a daytime hunter.

Sloths’ extreme slowness makes them vulnerable on the ground. There are only two reasons a sloth will leave a tree: to find a mate and to poop.

Sloths have the lowest relative muscle mass of any mammal. Only 25% of a sloth’s body mass is muscle, compared to 40% in humans and 58% in lions.

Some tarantulas have been reported to have gone two years without eating!

Horned frogs from central South America live in dry areas. To avoid drying out, they form a cocoon of shed skin that locks in moisture.

This world class exhibit is produced by Little Ray’s Nature Exhibitions in collaboration with the Canadian Museum of Nature. It is locally sponsored by Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. Little Ray’s Nature Centres is the largest exotic animal rescue organization in Canada with educational programs reaching more than one million Canadians each year. Most of the animals in this exhibition are rescues.

For more information about MODS’ Survival of the Slowest, visit: www.mods.org/exhibit/survivaloftheslowest

Little Ray’s Nature Centres
Little Rays Nature Centres was founded in 1995 as a local, family-based, reptile rescue and educational outreach program. Since then it has grown to be largest exotic animal rescue in Canada. Its outreach programs include a comprehensive set of curriculum-based workshops for schools, museum exhibits on a wide range of topics used by museums and science centres across North America, and Canada’s largest pet therapy program, among many others. Nationally accredited by the Canadian Association of Accredited Zoos and Aquariums and licensed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, it is one of the only institutions recognized and allowed by the City of Ottawa to work with prohibited animals.

The Museum of Discovery and Science
Founded in 1976 as the Discovery Center, today the Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) is at the forefront of science education, innovation and exploration. MODS connects people to inspiring science, providing STEM education and cultural experiences for 450,000+ guests annually in the 150,000 sq. ft. facility. MODS is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) for three decades (only 3% of science museums are accredited for excellence and leadership in the field). In the past year, MODS has added to that distinction by being named Broward’s Hub for Resilience Education by the Board of the Community Foundation of Broward, selected by the LEGO Foundation as one of only 15 museums nationwide to join the Playful Learning Museum Network and awarded the prestigious 2023 IMLS National Medal for Museum Service.

The Museum celebrates diversity and welcomes guests from all walks of life. The Museum hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. MODS is located downtown at: 401 Southwest Second Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33312.

For more information about the Museum, please visit: www.mods.org or call: (954) 467-MODS (6637).

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