Lemurs lick lollies to keep cool at wildlife park

Banbury Cake: A lemur reaches for a lolly at Cotswold Wildlife Park Buy this photo A lemur reaches for a lolly at Cotswold Wildlife Park

LEMURS were lapping up ice lollies as summer finally arrived.

Chris Kibbey, head of primates at Cotswold Wildlife Park, said: “It is important to ensure our animals don’t overheat. As well as providing them with plenty of shade and making sure they have access to water, we will often give them ice pops.

“The fruity treats are loaded with grapes and other fruit, topped up with water and frozen.”

The parched primates, endemic to tropical Madagascar, normally eat fruit and insects, and are also known to feast on flowers.

 

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11:29am Sat 28 Jul 12

snert says...

I may be missing something here but surely our "sizzling" 28 degrees heat is far lower than what the Lemurs are used to in Madagascar? I don't recall when watching the 4 part series on Madagascar with David Attenborough which mentioned the hugely varied number of species of Lemur that they relied on Cornetto's to keep cool.
I may be missing something here but surely our "sizzling" 28 degrees heat is far lower than what the Lemurs are used to in Madagascar? I don't recall when watching the 4 part series on Madagascar with David Attenborough which mentioned the hugely varied number of species of Lemur that they relied on Cornetto's to keep cool. snert
  • Score: 0

1:51pm Sat 28 Jul 12

DuncanB says...

snert, you're quite correct that they don't live on Cornettos in the wild, but equally in the wild they don't find their food waiting for them in the same spot every morning so whatever you do won't precisely mimic the live environment.

Boredom can be a big problem for captive animals, so the keepers will do what they can to make life more interesting for the animals and one way is to make them work harder for their dinner: in this case they want the fruit but they have to get it out of the ice first. 'Ice lollies' are also fairly easy for the keepers to make (and they probably don't have nearly enough time to do this sort of thing except as an occasional treat).

On a visit to the Durrell Trust on Jersey a few years back I got the chance to help with a similar enrichment exercise for their aye-ayes: in that case we took kohlrabi, used a power drill to create lots of holes and in each hole put a maggot and then stoppered it up with cold porridge. That may not sound as appealing as 'ice lolly' does to us humans, but it really excited the aye-ayes as their normal diet consists in part of insects hooked out of deep crevices.
snert, you're quite correct that they don't live on Cornettos in the wild, but equally in the wild they don't find their food waiting for them in the same spot every morning so whatever you do won't precisely mimic the live environment. Boredom can be a big problem for captive animals, so the keepers will do what they can to make life more interesting for the animals and one way is to make them work harder for their dinner: in this case they want the fruit but they have to get it out of the ice first. 'Ice lollies' are also fairly easy for the keepers to make (and they probably don't have nearly enough time to do this sort of thing except as an occasional treat). On a visit to the Durrell Trust on Jersey a few years back I got the chance to help with a similar enrichment exercise for their aye-ayes: in that case we took kohlrabi, used a power drill to create lots of holes and in each hole put a maggot and then stoppered it up with cold porridge. That may not sound as appealing as 'ice lolly' does to us humans, but it really excited the aye-ayes as their normal diet consists in part of insects hooked out of deep crevices. DuncanB
  • Score: 0

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