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Animals Weather the Storm

Zoo Keepers at Drusillas Park in East Sussex were forced to keep their reptiles warm by cuddling them in blankets when high winds knocked out the zoo’s power supplies on Monday.

Due to a fault with a local substation, Drusillas Park in Alfriston was left without electricity from approximately 7.30am until 9pm. This not only caused disruption to those wishing to visit on the first day of the school holidays, it also meant that many of the enclosures could not be heated causing particular concern for the zoo’s resident reptiles.

Reptiles are cold blooded creatures that rely on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature. In the wild this is provided by the sun but at Drusillas they are dependent on electrical heated mats.

With the power off the zoo team were forced to improvise to prevent the reptiles’ body heat falling to dangerous levels. As temperatures within the vivariums started to plummet, keepers cuddled the coolest critters until the emergency generators could be installed. Plus other animals needed to be locked indoors for their own safety.

High winds also brought down several trees at the zoo and the estate team were forced to carry out emergency maintenance when a large willow branch fell within the red pandas to provide the perfect pathway out. Luckily, Tibao and Mulan were blissfully unaware as they slept through the worst of the weather snuggled up in their nest box.

Other zoo residents fared well within the storms and even benefitted from the fallen foliage. Willow leaves provided a tasty treat for the macaques and capybara, while the beavers got their teeth stuck into several ash branches brought down at the flamingos. Keepers also gathered up scattered leaves throughout the Park, delivering them to the animals as part of their daily enrichment.

 

The stormy weather could not have come at a more inconvenient time as Halloween Shriek Week got underway at Drusillas for the half term holidays. Luckily calm was restored the following day and it’s monkey business as usual at the award-winning zoo. 

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