Keeper Diary - March 2008
This month I have moved sections, which is an exciting prospect, but, leaves me with mixed feelings.
Clearly I am going to miss the lovely animals I have worked with on mammals south for so long, but, on the other hand it gives me new opportunities to work with other great species that I haven’t previously. Mammals North, the section to which I have moved includes a vast number of species as well as two major exhibits, Into Africa and Rainforest Life.
Into Africa gives the opportunity to work with more ungulate species such as giraffes, zebras and okapi and although still very exciting this is similar in keeping style to my main roles on mammals South.
However, the Rainforest Life has lemurs, lots of small monkey species and then a wide range of animals from across many animal groupings mammal, reptiles, birds, amphibians and invertebrates. This will develop me as a keeper and also gives me the privilege of working with some very unusual and charismatic animals.
One such animal is the Aye Aye, a very unique lemur that comes from the island of Madagascar and looks like a mixture of many different animals that have been glued together. They have bat-like ears, rodent like teeth, a squirrel-like tail and one very elongated finger, which they use to hook insect grubs out of hollows in trees. Despite being a small lemur, I was very nervous when I first worked with them because they are like nothing I have ever seen before, let alone worked with and it is very hard to read them to begin with. However, I am already feeling confident around them now and it is a wonder to watch such a bizarre animal wandering around the branch work as you clean!