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Santa Paws has been!


Animals at Drusillas get an early Special Delivery from Santa

‘Twas the fortnight before Christmas, when all through the Zoo, every creature was stirring – because Santa had paid them an early visit!  

The animals must have been extra good this year, as Santa decided to deliver them a selection of paw-some Christmas presents ahead of schedule. Lynx, anteaters, yellow-throated martens, capybaras, and capuchin monkeys all awoke to find gift-wrapped goodies from Father Christmas today.

Rather than toys and games, their presents contained all kinds of delicious food like crickets, worms, oil, fish, beef, and vegetables. 

A little different to what you might expect to find under the Christmas tree, but carefully chosen to suit each animal’s specific dietary needs – who knew Santa was such an animal expert?

Like us, the animals couldn’t wait to open their gifts and excitedly tore through the wrapping to discover the tasty treats inside. 

The animals didn’t just appreciate the yummy snacks inside their gifts, presenting food in unusual ways also helps to keep their minds and bodies stimulated and forms part of our daily enrichment activities at the Zoo.

Senior Keeper Jacinta Dawe said: “It made everyone here smile to see how much the animals enjoyed interacting with their gifts. While I’d rather not open a gift containing worms, or Spratts, these foods would definitely have been top of our animal’s Christmas lists!”  

Opening up their Christmas gifts 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.

Jacinta said "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!

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