Sunday, 10 May 2020

"Dance of the Adders" 2020

A little later than I would of hoped, but here are a couple of photos and videos of our adders "dancing" this year. These are two of our males, Draco and Lucius, fighting or competing over a female. This fight displays itself in a rhythmic display of them intwining their bodies together, often raising the first third of their body off the ground, and trying to push each other away. The force of the interaction means they occasionally fling apart from each other but are unlikely to get hurt or injured. They never bite each other.

It is a beautiful thing to watch, and something I look forward to every year. Because of the motion and delicacy of it all it is often called the "dance of the adders".

Our adders finished "dancing" just over a week ago so here are a couple of video clips below. One brief, and one a little longer from a different angle and more close up. Also a couple more photos form this year... not much time to take any more I'm afraid due to the strange circumstances we find ourselves in, but at least some record shots.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Farewell to Clyde

Sadly last Friday Clyde the pine marten passed away. He died peacefully in his sleep of old age, he wasn't far from twenty! Many of you who have visited over the end of last year, early this year, will know he was getting very frail and slow. Due to his cataracts he was blind for the last few months, but knowing his pen inside out was still able to climb and wander around to find everything.

Working closely with our animals, you always build a bond with them, and as most of you will know I had a particular bond with our pine martens. Clyde was one of the first pine martens I ever worked with, and as such helped to guide and nurture my love and respect for these beautiful animals. I spent a lot of time working with him on an almost daily basis, and as such he was arguably the most friendliest pine marten you would of met!

Losing an animal is always a sad time, but some hit your harder than others. I talk to the animals, crazy I know, but I really think it helps them to associate your voice with calm and stressless times. Clyde I used to talk to about everything, all the good and bad going on in my little world, and so in some ways you could say he knew me better than anyone!

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

New Wildcats

All new cat pens are now occupied, and we have three new cats... or at least new on view... to introduce to you. Later last year we collected a couple of sisters who were born at Edinburgh zoo. "Hilda" above and "Agnes" below. They are both to become part of the breeding programme, and to take over from Kendra and Iona who have done so well for us in the past in rearing kittens. 

You can see that Agnes is still rather shy. She was the last cat to be put on display, while we were waiting for her new enclosure to dry out after the works and slight flooding, but while there are no visitors coming in it is the perfect chance for her to settle in well. I tried to get a nice photo of her over the last few days, but alas... she decided she didn't want to pose.

Another new cat who came to us earlier this year from the West Country Wildlife Centre, was "Atticus" above. Handsome face! He is still rather young, and still settling in, but will also be joining our breeding programme. Another shy cat, but again hopefully will settle well while we are closed and be a little bolder once visitors start to come back.

Hilda though!.. she is a superstar already. Some of you have met her already, as she was on display for the last weekend before our shutdown. She is the opposite of her sister, very bold, and seems to love the attention. She has been paired up with our male Braveheart. Some more photos of her below... check out those stunning green eyes!