The National Zoo is home to 2,000 individual animals of nearly 400 different species. Our best known residents are our giant pandas, but great apes, big cats, Asian elephants, birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects, aquatic animals, small mammals, and many others can be found at the Zoo.
You can take a virtual visit to the Zoo any day of the week by tuning into our live web cams, which feature many of the Zoo's animals:
Watching Amazon river fishes: Here is a glimpse into the rich and vibrant underwater life of the Amazon. Red-tailed catfish, arowanas, black pacus, and guppy share this 55,000-gallon aquarium below a living tropical forest.
Watching Asian small-clawed otters: A family of otters, parents and offspring, live on Asia Trail. Small-clawed otters, the smallest of the world's 13 otter species, live in family groups and play often.
Spotting cheetahs: The Zoo is home to male and female cheetah. Cheetahs are the world's fastest land mammal, able to run as fast as 60 miles per hour. These cats are vulnerable to extinction.
Watching clouded leopards at the Zoo: Clouded leopards live at Asia Trail. You may see them leaping from limb to limb and napping on sturdy branches. Relative to body size, clouded leopards' long canines are the largest of all living cats.
Watching clouded leopards at the Zoo's Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia: The cam features a male and female that were paired at a young age to create a bonded pair for future breeding.
Watching fishing cats: Fishing cats live at Asia Trail. These short-tailed cats are about twice the size of the average housecat. They attract fish by lighting tapping the water's surface with a paw, mimicking insect movements. Then, they dive into the water to catch the fish.
Watching golden lion tamarins: This cam looks in on a Small Mammal House exhibit where a golden lion tamarin family lives. There are only about 1,500 golden lion tamarins in the wild.
Watching gorillas: The Zoo is home to western lowland gorillas, both females and males. Gorillas are the world's largest primates and, after chimpanzees, our closest relatives.
Watching lions: The Zoo is home to male and female lions. Tigers are lions' closest relatives. Without their coats, lion and tiger bodies are so similar that only experts can tell them apart.
This MicroTheatre gives us the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the everyday, invisible world.
Naked mole-what? Despite the fact that they burrow underground like moles, and have rat-like tails, naked mole-rats are more closely related to porcupines, chinchillas, and guinea pigs than to moles or rats.
Monster of the deep? Hardly! Octopuses are actually mollusks, a group including snails and clams, which is a far cry from giant monsters dragging sailors to their doom.
Watching apes: Several orangutans live at the Zoo. They can travel between the Great Ape House and Think Tank along the Orangutan Transport System (O Line), a series of towers and cables, 35 to 40 feet above ground. You may see them swinging on the ropes and making nests of hay to rest on.
Watching giant pandas: The Zoo is home to an adult female panda and an adult male. The panda cams follow the pandas in their indoor and outdoor exhibits at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat.
Watching sloth bears: Adult female and male sloth bears live at the Zoo. You may see the bears climbing, foraging for insects, or sleeping. Native to India, Sri Lanka, and southern Nepal, sloth bears are the only bears to carry young on their backs.
Watching Sumatran tigers: You may see the cats walking about, occasionally pausing to scent-mark territory, just like they would in the wild.