Santa Paws Delivers Gifts to the Animals
Santa Paws made an early stop this year at a zoo in Sussex delivering some special gifts for the animals and getting his suit covered in little paw prints!
The sound of jingle bells and ‘ho-ho-hos’ echoed through Drusillas on a cold, crisp morning as St Nicholas made his rounds, accompanied by our head keeper, to visit animals including meerkats, capybaras, lemurs, armadillos, and camels.
Offering up some specially wrapped presents, with individually prepared tasty treats, Santa sat with each of the animals to ask if they’d been naughty or nice this year, and the animals loved engaging with the jolly character so much that some of them even climbed on his lap.
The meerkats quickly took to clambering in and out of the gift Santa brought them, the lemurs were very curious and did lots of sniffing of Santa’s beard, baby capybara Satsuma wasted no time climbing in his lap, and the armadillos destroyed their gift in seconds.
Head Keeper Gemma Romanis said: “It made everyone here smile to see Santa interacting with our animals, he doesn’t just have a magic way with children, it extends to animals too – and he even told me I’m on the nice list this year!”
Gemma continued: “Santa’s visit formed part of this week’s enrichment programme for our animals, which is a daily activity we offer which presents food or exercise in a new way to help stimulate our animal’s problem-solving abilities and keep their minds and bodies active. This is a vital part of their care and why not use the excuse of the festive season to have a little fun at the same time? Watching the animals tear into the presents made us all even more excited for Christmas morning!”
Christmas morning at the Zoo is not quite the ‘presents in pyjamas’ affair it will be for many families, as keepers still have to carry our their normal daily routines. Although the Zoo will be closed to visitors, a small team of dedicated keepers will arrive before sunrise to make sure the Zoo’s 800 residents have been fed, cleaned, and watered just like any other day.
Gemma continued: “Lots of people ask what Christmas Day is like at the Zoo, but it’s actually pretty much like any other day for us, except we do treat ourselves to Christmas sandwiches! We still have to make sure everyone is happy and healthy so we’ll still be here in our wellies getting mucky, but we wouldn’t have it any other way – our animals are family to us so it’s like everyone else seeing their family on Christmas Day, except with slightly more mess!”