These X-Rays Of Animals Shared By A Zoo During Its Annual Health Check Are Amazing


Katy Evans

Katy is Managing Editor at IFLScience where she oversees editorial content from News articles to Features, and even occasionally writes some.

Managing Editor

Camouflage not working out so well for you there, huh buddy? Oregon Zoo/Facebook

We live for zoos around the world sharing the antics of their inhabitants, whether it’s the cheeky shenanigans of attempted escapes, publicly shaming naughty behavior, or the utterly adorable annual baby weigh-ins. This time, however, the Internet’s heart has been captured by some very revealing images of unusual critters.

Oregon Zoo has shared to Twitter incredible images of X-rays of some of their charges during an annual health check, and the photos are amazing.


If you have ever wondered what the inside of a snake looks like, or whether stripped of their beautiful colors toucans are actually terrifying dinosaurs, then read on.


All animals at Oregon Zoo have an annual health check, where they are weighed, checked over by veterinarians, and X-rayed using their state-of-the-art scanner that can accommodate animals up to the size of bears and even elephants. This allows them to not only study the animals without putting them under anesthesia for a long time, but to share their images and info with other zoos and animal care centers.

Of course, you may wonder how one goes about wrangling a tiger or golden eagle into being X-rayed? “Very carefully, of course,” according to staff.


The Rodrigues flying fox, or fruit bat, is actually pretty chubby, or at least very fluffy, and usually occupies a rather more round shape than its sleeker silhouette here. 


Sometimes people are surprised to discover snakes are vertebrates, which means they have a backbone, because they are so slithery. Snakes, like this ball python here, actually have between 200 and 400 vertebrae, and just as many ribs. Humans in comparison have just 33 vertebrae and 24 ribs.


Putting my hands up here, I'm not sure I've ever considered what an American beaver's tail is made of, other than something very powerful. Their tails are actually scaly rather than furry, and are used for balance on land and like a rudder in the water.


Without their beautiful bright colors toco toucans are absolutely terrifying, and it's easy to believe that prehistoric birds were much scarier than dinosaurs.  

Check out the video below that the zoo also shared, revealing how some of their animals get X-rayed, and how some even like to view their results while they're there.


These images were actually first shared by the zoo last year, but have popped up again every so often to help celebrate everything from Halloween to World Goth Day, and because our wonder about the natural world is never ceasing, we imagine they'll pop up again.

Fingers crossed they share the elephant next time. 


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  • animals,

  • skeletons,

  • X-rays