On Saturday, Jamie and I went on an adventure to Whipsnade Zoo. Whipsnade is run by ZSL, the same company that runs London Zoo. If you read my Z is for Zoos post, you'll know that sometimes I get a bit upset with zoos; seeing all the beautiful wild creatures caged up in too small, unenriched enclosures. But I am very pleased to be able to say that Whipsnade is not like that at all. They have so much space, so every enclosure is more than big enough, and filled with interesting and exciting things for the animals to do.
The park is also very well organised. It's huge, so they run a free bus service around the zoo, to save you from walking all the way around. Or, if you want to pay the extra £17 (!) you can bring your car into the zoo, and park in designated parking areas around the zoo. There are numerous timed events, such as animal feeding, the birds of the world show and the sealion splash.
Unfortunately for us, it was hammering down with rain all morning, so some of the shows were cancelled. The walk-through lemur enclosure, where they feed the lemurs around you and you get to have them climb on you... was completely empty. All the lemurs were in their little house, refusing to go outside!
We did get to feed the wild boar, and their 11 stripey little piglets. And the Eurasian bears were out, waiting patiently for their breakfast as well.
We got to feed the bears. It was pretty awesome.
I was very excited to see wolverines. I don't think I'd seen them before, as not many zoos keep them.
How cute are they? Apparently one wolverine can bring down a reindeer by itself. They don't look that scary!
Because it was so horribly wet, we legged it over to the "Discovery Centre", which is basically a big indoor exhibit with loads of reptiles, insects, fish and small mammals. It was lovely and warm and dry, so we were quite happy to stay inside for a while. Fortunately, it was also amazing.
The most awesome part though was in the tropical rainforesty bit. They have a huge colony of leaf cutter ants, and the way the tank is set up, the nest runs for a very long distance, through tubes that cross over the walkway and into various different tanks. There's even an branch bit where they come out into the open, in the crocodile room. You can see the fungus they cultivate, the larvae and pupae they are caring for, and everywhere there are worker ants cutting and carrying bits of leaf.
|Seriously, how awesome is that? So close I could have reached out and touched it.|
|She sat there for ages, drinking, while we were just a stone's throw away.|
|These baby Asian elephants were playfighting in the mud. They were trying to |
push each other over in it, I think. Very cute indeed.
|These miniature deer were free-roaming all over the zoo. This one had several|
babies with her, and we had to be very careful not to disturb her as we went past.
|Cheetahs!!! How exciting! They are incredibly beautiful.|
|These lions were right next to the glass. I had my face right next to a snarling male African lion!|
It was incredible. Sadly, the glass was really dirty, so it was hard to get a decent photo of him.
|The happiest giraffes I've seen outside of Longleat Safari Park.|