All creatures great and small had their annual check-ups yesterday (AUG 27) at Whipsnade Zoo.
Animals at Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, stepped on the scales for their yearly weigh-in as keepers began the process of measuring the heights and weights of nearly 3000 animals.
Staff also got out their measuring tapes to check the heights of every animal, from tiny grasshoppers to long-necked giraffes.
Mark Holden, a senior keeper at the zoo, said recording changes to the animals’ vital statistics is crucial to monitoring their health.
He said: “We regularly check the weight of all the animals here at Whipsnade Zoo so that we can make sure that they are all in tip-top health.
“It allows us to work out how much food they need on a daily basis and to compare the vital statistics of our animals with those in other zoos and in the wild.
“Figures are recorded into the Zoological Information Management System, a database shared with zoos around the world, helping zookeepers to compare information on thousands of endangered species.”
In order to get the measurements, keepers have developed a range of techniques. The sea lions are trained to hold their flippers up to give the keepers time to measure them.
Keeper have to tempt brightly-coloured feathered macaws and scaly pythons onto the weigh-board with some of their favourite treats.
Specially-designed rulers and tiny scales are used to accurately record the animals’ measurements.
The heaviest animals at the zoo are the Asian Elephants, while the tallest are the giraffes which measure 15ft high.
The smallest animals in the zoo’s collection are the leaf-cutter ants.
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