24 Weird Facts You Probably Didn't Know About London Zoo
The meerkats are scared of helicopters and the hippos like having their teeth brushed.
1. There is a keeper at the zoo who has worked there for 55 years.
2. All the poo that all the animals do is recycled and used as fertiliser.
3. And lots of the branches that the animals strip off leaves are turned into woodchips.
4. The pygmy hippos like having their teeth brushed.
5. People can donate their old perfume to be used to entertain the animals.
6. Old coffee sacks and garlic can be used too.
7. Pretty much anything can be used as something to keep the animals busy. The gorillas like to try on, or just rip apart old clothes.
8. London Zoo is closed on only one day of the year, Christmas Day.
9. And some of the animals actually miss the visitors on this day! Monkeys and gorillas are entertained by the visitors and can get bored when they’re not there.
10. The meerkats are scared of balloons and helicopters.
11. Keepers come from all different backgrounds: Some are scientists, while others used to be bankers or makeup artists.
12. Underneath the old elephant enclosure is where a lot of the animals' meals are prepared.
13. The chopping room has menus for all the different animals on all the walls.
14. Gorillas eat a lot of lettuce.
15. There are also notes of what all the different animals' favourite things are.
16. Keepers try to build bonds with their animals and get them used to being handled by humans, but this isn’t so people can pet them.
17. Keepers train some of the animals to do basic commands, so that they can safely move them around or check their health.
18. If an animal is used to being handled, it’s less likely to need sedating when it needs a health check.
19. Experiences like “keeper for a day”, where visitors get to interact with the animals, are useful as they get the animals used to strangers, so they’ll be less nervous when they need to go to the vet.
20. Some of the animals time-share their enclosures.
For example, the nocturnal aardvarks share an enclosure with the daytime-loving meerkats. Every night the meerkats are put to bed and the aardvarks get their turn in the enclosure, and every morning they go back to sleep in their little private bedroom.