Tag Archives: Family Days Out

Batty Halloween Fun!

20 Oct

This Halloween, the Rodrigues flying foxes at Drusillas Park have been discovering that they are bats about pumpkin! The trick or treat troop have been hanging out and dinning on jack-o’-lanterns, ordered to decorate the Park during the half-term Shriek Week.

Known as flying foxes due to their size, fox-like features and ginger furry body, Rodrigues fruit bats are amongst the rarest bats in the world. In the wild they are only found on the island of Rodrigues, near Mauritiusin the Indian Ocean.

At the zoo, these large bats are much more used to a fruity feast of apples, bananas, oranges, kiwis, melons, peaches and plums. Nevertheless they also eat leaves, leaf eater pellets, insects and vegetables and the seasonal special made a very welcome change.

Pumpkins make the ideal animal snack as they are a great source of potassium, Vitamin A and they are also high in fibre. However due to their seasonal nature they are not often enjoyed by the residents of the zoo.

Delivering the animals’ meals in imaginative and unusual ways is part of the zoo’s daily enrichment programme. This ensures they receive a varied and diverse diet, as well as encouraging them to think and work for their food as they would in the wild.


Black Day for Zoo Conservation

2 Sep

Drusillas are appealing for information after thieves broke into a locked conservation cabinet and stole a rare black rhino horn.

Drusillas Park had the artefact on display as part of a CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) education exhibit, secured within the confines of the inner zoo.

Forcing the lock on the unit, the thieves targeted the glass case during normal operating hours on Wednesday 31st August. By passing all other items, they escaped with the rhino horn sometime between 4.15  and 4.30pm.

Shortly after, staff saw two men running away from the scene and acting suspiciously. They were described as Caucasian and in their late teens to early twenties. One was wearing a baseball cap and sportswear, while the other had a horizontal blue and white striped top with jeans. They were last seen heading on foot in the direction of Alfriston village.

Zoo Manager, Sue Woodgate commented: “I am extremely upset that the rhino horn has been stolen. The horn itself is off-white and triangular shaped, measuring approximately 15cm in diameter.”

“Artefacts play an important role in education at Drusillas; they are used to explain to our visitors about the illegal trade in animal products and spread a vital conservation message. To have such a precious item stolen for personal gain beggars belief.”

The robbery is the latest in a chain of similar attacks on collections and museums throughout Europe. Sadly the demand for rhino horn on the black market is high, fuelling a value which is currently greater than gold. 

Zoo Director, Laurence Smith commented: “It can be no coincidence that during a global spate of attacks our own black rhino horn has also been targeted.”

“Police are investigating the crime and we are currently looking through our CCTV footage. However if anyone has any information in connection with the incident or saw anything suspicious, please contact us as soon as possible on 01323 874100 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”


Sydney & Sofia are Set for a Summer Romance

15 Aug

After months of searching, zoo keepers at Drusillas Park in East Sussex have finally found a mate for Linne’s two-toed sloth, Sofia. Sydney arrived from Paignton Zoo and has been settling in alongside his lady love ever since.

Sloths usually live on their own or in a small group. They have one baby at a time, which is delivered after a period of six months.

Sofia was born on 17th April 2009 at Amazon World Zoo Park on theIsle of  Wight.  She came to Drusillas in July 2010 with a view to starting her own family at the zoo. Cupid’s arrow finally landed this month when Sofia was introduced to eligible bachelor, Sydney. The pair have been getting on famously, hanging out with the Rodrigues fruit bats with whom they share an enclosure.  

Zoo Manager, Sue Woodgate commented: “We are really pleased with the new arrival. Sydney has had to make some big adjustments since arriving at Drusillas; he has met turacos and bats and he also has access to an outside area for the first time, which is rare in UK zoos with this species.”

In the wild Linne’s two-toed sloths are found in the tropical rainforests of northern South America, where they spend most of their time hanging upside down from trees by their four long limbs.

They are very slow moving creatures with a lower body temperature than other mammals, varying from 24 to 330C. They control this by moving in and out of the sun.

Hopefully Sofia and Sydney will continue to warm to each other too. So far the signs have been very encouraging and claws crossed, it will not be too long before there’s a tiny new addition to the sloth family at Drusillas Park.

Summer Activities for Children

20 Jul

As the country counts down to London 2012 and the nation prepares itself to support Queen and country, visitors at Drusillas will be discovering whether they are chimps or champs at the Zoolympics Challenge Day on Tuesday 26th July.

The Zoolympics Trail is a permanent attraction at Drusillas, designed to allow participants to test their skills against the extraordinary talents of the animal kingdom. However on this day visitors will also have the opportunity to compete against each other!

Between 10am and 5pm, children aged 12 years and under will be invited to take part  in five of the zoo’s eleven challenges. Events will include How long can you hang on? How loud can you shout? How long can you stand on one leg? How fast can you run? and how long can you jump?

At the end of the day the final results will be displayed in the picnic area and the winners in each age category will receive a prize to reward their efforts.

Managing Director, Laurence Smith commented “The Zoolympics Trail has always been popular during a visit to Drusillas but within the current climate, the activities hold even more appeal. The great thing about them is that as well as being great fun they are also educational, so children can learn a little bit about their own abilities and also gain a greater understanding of wildlife.”

Rare Baby Lemur Born

18 Jul

A rare black lemur has been born at Drusillas. The young male has been called Tsito by zoo keepers and is making good progress under the watchful guidance of proud parents, Clementine and Lotfi.

Male black lemurs are all black with striking eyes, whilst females have a brown back, pale belly and whitish ear tufts.  They are native to the forest areas of northern Madagascar where they are considered a vulnerable species, mainly due to hunting and the destruction of the habitat in which they live.

Clementine arrived at the end of 2009 from Park Zoo inPortugal, followed closely by Lofti from Friguia Zoo inTunisia. The pair were brought together at Drusillas as part of the European Endangered Species Programme coordinated by EAZA (The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria).



Black lemurs give birth to one or two babies at a time and the youngsters are carried around by their mother for up to six months. Tsito is growing in confidence daily and has just started to come off Clementine’s back for short periods of time, exploring the trees and ropes at Drusillas. He has also begun eating small amounts of solid food, with his particular favourite being pear.

Zoo Manager, Sue Woodgate commented: “We are so excited at the arrival of Tsito. He is a very cheeky little chap and can be seen playing with the ring-tailed lemurs and his Dad in Lemurland while Mum takes a break from her parenting duties.”

Murray Inspired Meal Served to Meerkats

1 Jul

A feast of tasty treats were served up to the meerkats at Drusillas Park today in honour of British tennis star, Andrew Murray. The unusual delivery proved a smash with the whole set, who polished the meal off in minutes before making a racket for more. 

The meerkats took full advantage of their lunch-time munch, dished up in customised tennis balls stuffed with mealworms. The group rallied around the prized platters taking the new balls near break point, as they utilised their strong forehands to dig out the dinner.

This strange service was made as part of the zoo’s enrichment programme, which ensures a diverse diet is enjoyed in imaginative and unusual ways. Enrichment is carried out within all the enclosures on a daily basis to encourage the animals to work a little harder for their food as they would in the wild, as well as providing mental stimulation.

Plus it’s love all elsewhere in the zoo, with courting of another variety. Drusillas Park is currently celebrating the arrival of two fennec fox babies born on 15th May.  The pups are now starting to play outside the nest box and are already proving a popular doubles partnership with zoo spectators.