Walter Rothschild was fascinated by marsupials and flightless birds and kept many species alive in Tring Park. Almost every species of marsupial can be found in this gallery, along with a wide variety of other specimens including reptiles, amphibians, flightless birds, small mammals and domestic dogs.
This most recently redesigned gallery houses 837 specimens and includes the popular domestic dogs and the recently extinct Tasmanian wolf, or tiger as it's more commonly known. You can find out more about Walter Rothschild the man behind the Museum. There is also an interactive touch-screen where you can watch a video showing an animal being prepared for display and learn more about the Museum's origin.
The thylacine or Tasmanian wolf is an extinct marsupial and, unlike its herbivore kangaroo cousin, is a meat-eating predator. It was wiped out by European settlers in the early 1900s after being blamed for killing sheep.
The bulldog, bred from the 1800s, is descended from the dogs used in bull-bating contests, a sport made illegal in 1835. Its short and slightly deformed body was exaggerated by early breeders to produce the present-day look. These 2 specimens were both prize-winners in the early 1900s. There are over 80 domestic dogs on display.
For the past 100 years the St Bernard has been associated with the Bernadine Hospice in the Swiss Alps. The dogs were used as rescue dogs and guides in blizzards but have now been replaced with modern equipment.
Like humans, cassowaries (native to Australia and New Guinea) have a lot of individual variation. Two birds of the same species may have different colours on the head, neck and wattle (the fleshy growth under the neck). It is thought a cassowary can disembowel a person with a single kick. Walther Rothschild bred many of these birds in Tring Park and spent a lot of time studying them.
Walter Rothschild was fascinated by the marsupial tree kangaroos, when he saw a lady with a rug made from tree kangaroo fur in a London park. He arranged to buy it and he took it to the Natural History Museum for identification.
The ground pangolin is covered in horny scales that overlap and protect the body. Pangolins are excellent climbers, but often walk on their hind legs. They have no teeth and use their long sticky tongues to eat insects.
Native to mainland Europe, the fat dormouse was considered a delicacy by the Romans. They were introduced to Tring Park in 1902 by Walter Rothschild. The population has since spread to within a 25-mile radius of Tring.
The duck-billed platypus is an endangered species that lives in Australian wetlands and rivers. A mammal that lays eggs, its beak is sensitive to touch and to water-based electrical signals, and the male has a poisonous spur on its hind foot.
Like most fruit bats, the hammerhead bat uses its excellent eyesight and sense of smell to find food. British bats all rely on echolocation to find their way around.