Keeper's diary - April 2009
Spring seems to have arrived at the zoo this month - and we have also experienced a baby boom on Outback as many of the female wallabies now have young joeys to look after.
The large wallaby group on Outback is now becoming even bigger, as we have all been noticing a lot of tiny heads watching us from the pouches of most of the females whilst we have cleaned their home every day for the past couple of months.
Most of the babies were born in January but, like most marsupial species, wallabies are very small and helpless when they are born, and so they have continued their growth and development in the safety of their mother’s pouches.
More recently a few of the young joeys have been spotted outside, hopping about on their own and enjoying the sunshine on warmer days. They are never out for too long though as they haven’t become all that brave yet, and are always ready to jump back into the safety of their protective pouches.
Because the youngsters are often hidden, and as it is impossible to see how many pouches have babies wriggling about inside, we have not been able to count the exact number of joeys just yet. Though we are certain that there are quite a lot of them, and I’m sure they will all be a lot more active and independent very soon!
The wallabies and emus on Outback also have other newcomers sharing their home with them as a pair of black swans and a variety of Australian duck species have been introduced to the pool at the front of the enclosure.
We have put up a fenced area covered in branch-work which only the swans and ducks can access, this is to provide them with some sanctuary if they want to get away from the emus, who also like using the pool and can be rather inquisitive! So far though we have had no trouble from them and all the animals seem to be getting on okay.
Elsewhere on section, the warmer weather has meant that the pygmy hippos, Thug and Nicky are spending more days out in their paddock -and have already eaten all the new grass that had grown in there. The hippos will shortly be moved into their larger summer paddock which also has a huge outdoor pool for them.
The camels, Nadia and Noemie, have begun to lose big patches of hair as they are starting to moult their long winter coats. The first areas to come off are around their faces and legs and they are beginning to look quite scruffy at the moment, but if you come and see them in the summer they will be almost completely bald!
More next month.