Butterfly Conservatory, Niagara Falls

Survival of the Slowest

Explore how some of the world’s most overlooked animal species have evolved to use disadvantages to help them survive. Access to this limited-time exhibit is included with regular admission to the Butterfly Conservatory!
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Counterintuitive Adaptations


  • 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 armour and/or venom to deter predators.
  • Sloths grow algae on their fur to conceal them in leafy environments.

Nocturnal Lifestyle

  • Being nocturnal helps sloths avoid their main predator and daytime hunter, the Harpy Eagle.

Tree Life

  • Sloths tend to hang in trees since their 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.

Lowest Relative Muscle Mass

  • 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.

Energy Preserver

  • Iguanas can run quickly if needed, but they prefer to conserve energy and rely on camouflage to remain safe from predators.
  • Rattlesnakes are “sit-and-wait” predators. After their venom kills a prey, the snake can wait and eat at its leisure thanks to its energy-conserving venom.
  • Some tarantulas have been reported to have gone two years without eating!

Lock-in Moisture

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

Strategic Hunter

  • The American Barn Owl is an amazing hunter. By focusing on nutritious, high-energy prey, it requires less food energy than other birds that eat grains.
Butterfly Conservatory

Butterfly Conservatory

Niagara Parks’ Butterfly Conservatory is home to over 2,000 butterflies of 45 different species from around the world. Many of our butterflies are imported from farms in tropical regions, including Costa Rica, El Salvador and the Philippines, and approximately 40 per cent are raised on-site in a quarantined greenhouse. With abundant tropical blooms and trickling waterfalls adorning 180 metres (590 feet) of winding pathways, you’ll find a number of opportunities to capture stunning photos of your experience inside one of the largest glass-enclosed butterfly conservatories in North America.

Little Ray’s Nature Centres

Ottawa-based Little Rays Nature Centres was founded in 1995 as a family-based, educational outreach program and reptile rescue that has grown to be the largest exotic animal rescue in Canada. Its programming includes curriculum-based workshops for schools, museum and science centre exhibits displayed across North America, Canada’s largest pet therapy program and much more. Nationally accredited by the Canadian Association of Accredited Zoos and Aquariums, and licensed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Little Rays Nature Centres is one of the only institutions recognized and allowed by the City of Ottawa to work with prohibited animals.

Little Ray’s Nature Centres
Niagara Falls Wonder Pass

Niagara Falls Wonder Pass

Get access to this limited-time exhibit and more with the Niagara Falls Wonder Pass! Save up to 67% and get admission to four of our top attractions, two consecutive days of WEGO bus transportation, access to the Falls Incline Railway and additional perks at Niagara Parks and Niagara Falls attractions, shops and restaurants.


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