Friday, 29 November 2013

Adults "Think" they say the funniest things...

Following on from last week, we didn't want to leave the adults out. Do they say the funniest things?

Well yes, sometimes, but other times it is just things that are no longer funny or original and that we have heard time and time again. Take a look below, and again, please take with the humour intended.

 - "That's a funny looking animal!" Pointing at a keeper in an enclosure

 - "That's a very big weasel" Looking at a keeper in the weasel pen

 - "Oh look, this is the homosapien pen" Looking at a keeper in a pen

You get the drift...

 - "What's the difference between a stoat and a weasel?.. Weasels are weasily recognised, where as stoats are stoatily different!"

 - "You can come round and do my windows if you like!" While a keeper is washing the windows

 - "The otters aren't out... Dam!"

I'll give you a couple of minutes for that one...

 - "Do you find this animal living in Britain?"

 - "What country do you find this animal in?"

Think about the last 2 :-)

 - "Are you all voluntary?"

 - "Are you training to be a vet?"

 - "When are you going to work in a proper zoo?"

 - "Oh I'd love to have a job like yours, and play with animals all day!"

 - "What do you do when you are not open?.. It must be so quiet!"

The last few often lead to misconceptions about what we do, so I have lined up a post for couple of weeks time about a keepers role at the BWC!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Wildcat Update

Pictured above is one of Kendra's kittens from this year, Isla... Isn't she just beautiful?

Of Kendra's three, one female went to Wildwood Trust near Herne Bay, to be company for their little wildcat that they successfully reared earlier this year. The other two are still here at the Centre, and will hopefully be re-homed at some point next year.

Iona's three kittens are still on top form, and it will be such a shame to seperate them... but that is something that will have to be done soon to prevent any potential inbreeding. I hope to keep at least one, if not two here at he Centre. The other/s may need to be re-homed too.

Wildcat conservation looks like it will have an exciting year next year, with the DNA results coming through for all the remaining captive cats and the great plans to build a breeding centre on the isle of Carna.

Unfortunately it looks like we may have to take another hiatus in breeding our cats next year. If we are unable to re-home our kittens from this year, we will not have the space to house further kittens at the end of 2014. This is a possible problem for all keepers of wildcats... you want to keep them breeding to keep the females in good condition, and to possibly aid future conservation plans, but you can't overcrowd in the limited space you have due to the individuals welfare.

Hopefully things will be sorted next year, plans will move on quickly, and we will be in a better position to breed and move kittens around to really help push and save the Scottish Wildcat.

Monday, 25 November 2013


OK, I know... more of Franklin... but can you blame me?.. He's adorable!!!

He was out over the weekend, and is now a real pro in the water and even beginning to come out on to the bank even with us being in there. Still a little shy of course, but getting bolder by the day.

Before you take a look at the rest of the pics below, and even a short video of them playing in the water, just a reminder to you all that this week is the last week you can enter our BWC photo competition.

As with previous years, the number of entries and support has been great, and we will have great fun looking through them all. The only disappointment is the lack of junior entries. 
So if you are 16 years or under, and a keen photographer, get on over to flickr or email your photos in to the centre for a chance to win some great prizes!

Mummy's Boy

 Or Daddy's Boy

 Now a real pro in the water

Being brave with mum

Friday, 22 November 2013

Kid's say the funniest things

I have always said we could write a book about the amusing things we hear children say around the centre... Whether it be on a school trip, or on a day out with mum and dad, some of the things we hear are great fun!

All below have been heard by one of the keepers at some time over the years. Please take this in the spirit is is meant, it is just so nice to hear our younger generation so excited about being here.

 - Running towards the otter pond... "Crocodiles!"

 - Seeing the sheep in out in the field... "Polar bears!"

 - Child: "You know polar bears?... Well my daddy kills snakes and curries them."

 - Keeper: "and the owl swallows the mouse in a big gulp." Child: "That's what I do with my pasta"

 - Child: "This place is amazing. I thought you'd only have ants!"

 - Child: "Why doesn't Santa have red deer?" Keeper: "Because red deer can't fly." Child: "Oh yeah!"

 - Child: "My dad drives a vole." Adult: "No dear, he drives a volvo"

 - Keeper: "What's the difference between a girl deer and a boy deer." Child: "The boys have something dangly between their legs."

 - Adult looking at a keeper in the rabbit enclosure: "That looks like a very big rabbit." Child: "Yeah only a little smaller than a elephant."

 - Child: "If you look at a deer's bum, it looks like it has sat on an owl"

 - Child: "I'm not an omnivore, carnivore or herbivore... I'm a choclovooore!"

 - Keeper: "What are the four types of teeth?" Child: "Sharp ones, not so sharp ones, even less sharp ones... and then some others."

Ok, so maybe not a book... but a blog post is a good start. I am sure there are lots of others that we can't remember at the moment, but it does keep us amused throughout school trips :-)

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Britain's "Big Five"

At the end of last week we posed a question on our facebook page... "What would be Britain's 'Big Five'?"

Whenever people go on a safari holiday to Africa, you always hear about hoping to see the big five, the Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo... so what would be Britain's big five? Not necessarily your favourite animals, just the ones that would most want to be seen or maybe define us... When you start to think about it, it is actually very difficult to decide!

I am aware that the term "Big Five" was originally used for those animals defined as most difficult/dangerous to hunt, but it seems to have moved on from there and for this sake is being used a most desirable to see.

Counting up the votes on facebook, and the the runaway five were:

 - Red Deer

 - Badger

 - Fox

 - Otter

 - Red Squirrel

Monday, 18 November 2013

Superstar Franklin!

Franklin, our young otter cub, is growing fast!.. And he is gaining his confidence quickly, not surprising since he is the only cub.

Swimming lessons are now done I think, as he is just at home in the water as his mum and dad. For the last week or so he has been out while people have been around, but staying out in the water and not too brave to come up on the bank.

This past weekend though he seems to have really got much bolder, and to the delight of both birthday parties, Franklin didn't just come out, he came "out out" for both and even right up to the fence with Emmy and Elwood.

But he is getting big... Franklin is the one on the right above, so not far off the size of mum now!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Lucy now Full Time

Lucy Groves is now a full time permanent keeper at the British Wildlife Centre. Lucy was originally taken on as our summer keeper for 2013, but with Richard leaving for Australia we needed a replacement and Lucy was keen to stay on.

Lucy has completed her Foundation Degree at Merrist wood, finishing with distinction, and having worked here for two work experience placements and a full summer term has gained much valuable experience. It was an obvious choice to keep her on board, and I am sure Lucy will continue to add great value to my team!

To read more about Lucy, check out our keeper page above, but for now I am just looking forward to some cake...

Monday, 11 November 2013


A few reminders I have been asked by the office to put up for you all...

 - Christmas cards are now available for order. As with last year, 4 exclusive designs. 2 per pack in a pack of ten. £6.50 a pack. You can order by phoning or dropping by to the office. I think you may also be able to order them from our website.

 - Members Lunch Club is back for just three more dates. Those are the 5th, 11th and 18th of December. If you wish to attend, please phone to book a place as they are limited. The afternoon runs from 12pm-3pm and includes lunch, and hopefully a baby otter on view!

 - From next year (January 2014) we will be open to the general public every weekend throughout the year!

 - New keeper talks for the winter season are up on the page above. These will run from December half term through to the end of February half term. Our summer season will start again from March.

 - Finally, don't forget this is the last month to submit your entries to our photographic competition... I will post a full reminder in a week or two after a fun little post we have lined up.

So that it's not all reminders, have a quick look at this clip of our deer coming to the end of the rut. No clashing antlers, but still some very interesting behaviours.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Franklin part 3

Franklin was out on form over the weekend, but often behind the reeds and trees... many got a good view of him, but only a few managed to get any photographs. Some great shots are up on flickr if you have yet to see them!

Meanwhile, yesterday more swimming lessons... doesn't he look small in the water?

He is getting on very well, but still needs a helping hand from time to time. Dad Elwood seems to be helping out the most, or maybe he just thinks it's all a good game!

Tired out, and piggy back seems the way to go for Franklin. It won't be long till he is brave enough to come up on to the bank regularly with Emmy and Elwood, but he is growing fast! Being the only cub means he is larger then normal for his age, but very healthy.

Below is a video clip of them playing around, from a distance I'm afraid, but still thought you may like to see it.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Franklin part 2

OK, fair warning to you all, there could be a lot of otter pics over the next few days!.. Franklin was out today, and many a lucky photographer was here to take a few snaps. I have yet to look on flickr myself, but hopefully there will be some photos shared that people took today.

It looked like more swimming lessons were the agenda today, as mum continuously pushed Franklin in to the water. When first born, otters are afraid of the water, and so a very much "thrown in the deep end" attitude is taken by the mum to teach them how to swim.

He wasn't too keen, and so would try to scramble back out on to the bank. Only this time dad would grab hold of him and drag him back in again!

I always find it fascinating to watch our animals... In the wild, the father would be long gone, and so the mother would do all the rearing. You may imagine therefore that Elwood would play no part in looking after little Franklin, but as many saw today, he plays a very active role.

 Of course dad's best role is to just have fun, act the big kid, and play with the youngster... much to mum's annoyance.

The hard work and rest worked out though, as Franklin set off on a major swim across the width of the pond. He didn't quite make it, and had to veer off to the island half way across, but with practice and strength he will soon get there.

If you get the chance, do come in tomorrow (Sunday) to see little Franklin in action... he is adorable, and it will be your last chance until the week after Christmas.

For those that can't make it, fear not, as I have a few video clips I will piece together over the coming days to put up here for you to see.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Baby Otter, Franklin

Two months ago, Emmy gave birth to an otter cub. I said back then that he would probably start coming out towards the end of the Autumn half term, and that seems to be the case.

Yesterday he was seen by a few members of the public starting to swim. Of course we all ran down excitedly to see what he was up too, and managed to get a glimpse of him in the distance.

Today he has been on top form, and has been out for much of the day... he even made an appearance for the afternoon keeper talk, joining mum and dad on the bank for some food! I can't believe he is so settled already in front of people.

I sexed him a couple of weeks ago, and we named him "Franklin". He is the only cub of the litter, not unusual since it is Emmy's first time as a mum, and seems to be doing extremely well. He really is a chubby little thing...

I tried to get a few photos for you afterwork today, but completely forgot it gets dark so soon now. So these are not the best after sunset, but hopefully will tie you over till I can get something a bit better. Also keep an eye out on our Flickr group, I am sure a few of our members managed to get some much better photos of him today!

Otters can give birth anytime of year, so this is by no means a late litter. Little Franklin will stay with mum and dad in to next year, before we start to think about separating him out and introducing him to our spare otter pen.

Of course there are no guarantees, but if you want to try and see Franklin... this weekend is your last chance before we shut for weekends. Come Christmas week he will be quite a bit bigger! If he follows on anything like he has been today and yesterday, then I expect him to be out quite a bit these next few days.