Noah's News Blog
We have two African elephant bulls here at Noah’s Ark Zoo, Janu and M’Changa. Their two favourite things are playing and food, so our elephant keepers have found the perfect way to combine them…
Providing an enriching lifestyle for all of our animals at the zoo is incredibly important as it encourages natural behaviour and keeps our animals mentally and physically active. In the wild animals would encounter all sorts of obstacles when hunting for food, so we try to recreate that at the zoo! Elephants are particularly intelligent animals, so we like to make their enrichment extra challenging; take a look at this video of just one of the many food puzzles we’ve given our elephants.
When it comes to feeding there’s not much that elephants can’t get their trunks on, so the keepers have to continuously think of new challenges. Recently they came up with a new idea; the feed box.
This clever box is designed so our elephants have to reach up to where the box is suspended and stick their trunks up through the tube inside to get to the food. They then have to sniff around in order to find the food hidden inside!
Now no one showed them how to do this, our clever elephants worked this out all by themselves!
You might think that these specialist pieces of equipment are ordered in from a manufacturer, but you’d be wrong! Our elephant keepers made this themselves, from scratch!
All of our keepers have a very hands-on attitude when it comes to providing for our animals, and their skills are not just limited to animal care. As they work so closely with their animals, they know their behaviours and mannerisms better than anyone else. This means they know which enrichment will best suit them, challenge them and entertain them, and they can tailor their enrichment creations to fit each animal.
The feed box enrichment has been such a success that elephant keepers from around the world have asked our elephant team for more information and instructions on how to build their own!
Don’t forget that you can help support our elephants by purchasing one of our Elephant Adoptions for yourself or as a gift. You can also come face-to-face with Janu and M’Changa in one of our Elephant Keeper Experiences; join the elephant team in a one-to-one exclusive experience as an elephant keeper!
We have welcomed some super cute new arrivals to the Noah’s Ark Zoo family over December and January. Five tiny leopard tortoises have hatched from incubation in our Reptile House, causing excitement among our animal team who love it when our animals breed successfully.
Did you know?
The leopard tortoise is a reptile native to Southern and Eastern Africa and can live from 50 to 100 years, so our hatchlings have a long life ahead of them! They are one of the world’s largest species growing up to 70cm in length, but right now our hatchlings are just a little bigger than a 50p coin.
These tortoises can lay 5 to 100 eggs in a clutch (this is the term used for eggs laid by amphibians and reptiles); our leopard tortoise parents laid 14 eggs between them, so we may be seeing more arrivals over the coming weeks!
Where are the hatchlings now?
As the hatchlings are so young and vulnerable, it is important that our reptile keepers are able to keep a close eye on them. Due to their size the hatchlings can become cold very quickly, so their enclosure must maintain a temperature of around 27°C. The hatchlings are currently in an off show enclosure to ensure this can be regulated easily by the reptile keepers. Once they have grown a little more, they will then be on show to the public, so stay tuned for news!
Come and visit the proud parents!
In the meantime, the five leopard tortoise parents are on show to the public and can be found in their mixed-exhibit next to the gibbons. In our creep (a group of tortoises) of leopard tortoises we have one male (Terry) and four females (Topsy, Turvy, Maggie-May and Gwen). Also in the same enclosure we have one African spur tortoise and eight ring tailed lemurs. Mixed exhibits such as this one provide enrichment for our animals through their interactions with one another. We are often lucky enough to capture this on camera, as you can see in this video!
If you’ve been up to Noah’s Ark this year you may have notice we’ve made some rather large changes around the zoo! We’ve started the 2017 season with new catering facilities and a shiny new slide for visitors to enjoy.
Say ‘hello’ to the smart new interior of our Food Barn, as well as a completely revamped menu and new opening hours! You can now grab yourself a cup of freshly ground coffee to warm up at the end of your visit (which may be well needed throughout winter!), or get a takeaway coffee to enjoy whilst wandering around the zoo.
The new menu has something to suit everyone; from freshly made sandwiches to homemade pizza. We also have a fantastic kids menu to keep your little ones happy. Take a look at the selection available in our Menu.
You can now also enjoy breakfast at Noah’s Ark! If you’re visiting for one of our Keeper Experiences, why not drop into the Food Barn for breakfast after your early morning start? The Food Barn is now opening at 8am for those who need an early morning caffeine hit!
There’s so much fun to be had at Noah’s Ark Zoo already, but if you need that extra rush of adrenaline we’ve got a treat for you! You may have loved our old Rainbow Slide, but you’ll now notice that it has been replaced with an upgrade which is bigger, faster and more exciting than ever!
The new slide is 6.6 meters of multi-coloured fun that is sure to please young thrill-seekers. You can find the new slide in the same place as before, in our indoor play barn behind the Ark Arena. Grab yourself a sack and see if you’re brave enough to take a trip down the Rainbow Slide!