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A Little Bit About Our Other Carnivores

Friday, August 06, 2010 10:43am
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It has been about 2 months since I started on the Mixed Carnivore Round and it has been, and still is, an amazing learning experience. As I said in my previous blog I had not worked with most of the animals on this round so there has been a huge learning curve. So I thought I better write down some things I have seen so far...

I will start off with the smallest and I must say the most elusive carnivore on the round…the Dwarf Mongoose. In winter they are little bit hard to spot but they do love to bask in the winter sun. These guys love their insects and it is very funny watching them chase and pounce on cockroaches and crickets…they can be very fast when they want. Fast enough even to take on and bite a greedy seagull trying to steal their food.

Now onto the most efficient of all carnivores, the African Wild Dog. These six girls are an enigma, everyday there is something else going on in the group. They live in a hierarchy system, or a pecking order, where the higher you are on the order the better off your day goes. Life is good at the top, you have access to all the resources and usually don’t have to fight to hold position. It is very easy to pick out our dominant girl, Gzifa…she is the most rotund, has the best coat, and no bite notches out of her ears. And what drives me nuts about the girls is it doesn’t matter what or how much I provide of items such as bedding, food and enrichment, the top dogs still decide who gets what. But some days I come in and the order is a bit out of place and I have found the lowest dog in the order sleeping snugly next to the dominant one, obviously she did something right that day to earn that spot.

As for the sleepiest carnivore on the round, Perak, our Binturong is only active from about 330pm onwards, even later when the sun is not out. Binturongs are nocturnal animals so those visiting the zoo later in the day will get a rare glimpse of this appropriately nicknamed ‘bear cat.’ Perak is also a trained animal, touching his nose to our hand and being rewarded with his favourite fruit, banana. This behaviour helps us move him around the exhibit and get up close to check him over. If he is feeling really motivated you can get him to hang from one of the ropes with only his tail. Binturongs have a prehensile tail, which allows them to grasp and hold things, like a “fifth hand.” But he will only do this behaviour for a piece of chicken.

And yes we have two little Meerkats on the round. They are a brother and sister pair and they are not in with the big group at Giraffes because they are from the old family group and not related to the current group. Don’t worry, these two get plenty of visitors; they are very close to the education centre and the kids love how interactive they are. These two love enrichment, most recently they got fresh coconut. And Zebra poo is going in tomorrow…they will probably roll it around the exhibit making a great big mess for me, but it is always worth it.

If your wondering where are the stories about our Sea Lions, Ady and Tasko, stay tuned for the next blog...

 

Arliah
Carnivore Keeper, Adelaide Zoo

 

Comments

Great article. Well done Arliah! Although the beautiful pandas are a key attraction, and love seeing them so much when visiting the zoo, the meerkats, binturong, dwarf mongoose, African wild dogs - well, all the animals, big and small, mammals, birds and reptiles are definitely great to see when visiting the zoo and love to hear about them when not.
Posted By: Lorraine Castle on Thursday, August 12, 2010 7:35am
I really enjoyed reading about all the animals in your care and learning more about them. And I love your enthusiasm and obvious passion for the animals in your care!
Posted By: Claire Reichstein on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 7:42pm

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