Izu Shaboten Zoo
The Cacti and Animal Park
Izu Shaboten Zoo is an animal and floral park located at the foot of Mount Omuro, affiliated to Ito City on the eastern coast of Izu Peninsula. There, visitors can encounter many wild birds and other medium sized species and approach, feed, and sometimes pet the animals. The place is also renowned for its large collection of cacti, with more than 1,000 types on display.
Izu Shaboten Zoo is just right at the exit of Mount Omuro Lift and welcomes visitors for a half a day long excursion.
The zoo shelters one hundred and thirty animal species in total, living in enclosures (sometimes quite small), in the outdoor or in large greenhouses. Animals seem rather well-cared for and fed. It is by the way one of the features of this place: visitors can feed most of the animals.
Feeding cute animals
Small food portions are available at the entrance of each enclosure, for ¥200 (~US$1.32), a cost probably thought to avoid overfeeding the animals. These treats can be used to get closer to the otters for example, who would directly take the food from the visitors’ hands, through a protection tube. You can then do the same with plant-loving capybaras. Petting the big rodents is possible due to the large pens they live in and their friendly nature.
Among the most interesting encounters are the peacocks freely strolling on the zoo’s grounds, an important colony of monkey 🐒 squirrels that are keen on approaching or climbing on the human visitors provided they are not empty-handed, and gray kangaroos that are harder to approach. Other primates can be observed on a boat tour between artificial islands, but this cruise gives an uncomfortable feeling as the animals seem to be going around in circle in these small spaces.
A directed path
In a quite larger greenhouse, many wild birds are awaiting visitors. As humans enter the birds’ living space, they must adapt to their movements. Take your time to watch the greater flamingos to the closest.
Note that visitors are not allowed to roam freely in the park. Each animal benefits from a quiet space or time where they can hide to rest. You may see for example, a "resting" sign on the hamsters’ cages.
As for the vegetation, the zoo displays several hundred of cacti varieties from Mexico and Madagascar, in the outside or under large and tall greenhouses. Some cacti are very impressive, sprouting at several meters high and nearing the glass ceiling. It is, in the end, the most memorable attraction, as the zoo is quite classical and similar to what can be seen in Europe. Izu Shaboten Zoo is therefore particularly suitable for people who like cacti.