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Most of us have visited a zoo at some point in our lives. The zoo is a common field trip destination, and for good reason. Not only can zoos be educational, but children are usually excited about seeing the large variety of different animals. Lions, tigers, gorillas, bears and giraffes are just a few of the animals that fascinate young kids. Insects are not usually a source of great interest for your average kid at the zoo. Insectariums are more popular among people who have a particular interest in insects. However, even many insectariums that are located within zoos do not feature termites. The lack of termites that are held in captivity within zoos does not come as a disappointment to many visitors, as most people only associate termites with costly destruction. Luckily for those of you termite enthusiasts who despair over the absence of termites in many zoos, the Dählhölzli zoo in Switzerland has you covered. This zoo is one of the few zoos in the world to feature a large termite exhibit that contains several mounds and millions of individual termites.

 

The Dählhölzli zoo is located in the city of Bern, and the termite vivarium has existed within the zoo since the late 1980s. Beginning in 1988, officials with the zoo had colonies of termites imported into Bern from the country of Kenya in Africa. The termites belong to the Macrotermes jeanneli species, and they are kept within a tower that reaches six meters in height. This museum is the first in history to successfully keep a termite mound in captivity.

 

The population of captive termites has grown into the millions, and they have created a vast eight kilometer underground network in order to gather food and construction materials. This foraging area extends well beyond the museum. Luckily for residents of Bern, the captive termites are not considered pests as they only eat greens such as grass and leaves, and not wood.

 

Would you be interested in visiting the termite vivarium at the Dählhölzli zoo?

 

 

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