Did you know we’ve got new arrivals at our zoo?
We we’re very excited to welcome six very cute little reds a few weeks ago and since they’ve come out of their nest boxes we’ve fallen in love with them!
Peter Cookson-Dean, our zoo ranger, said: ‘It’s fantastic that six kittens have been born at Walton this year as a result of our successful breeding programme. Squirrels can produce up to two litters each year, usually consisting of three or four kittens so to have six arrive is a little out of the ordinary. The young are looked after by the mother and are born helpless, blind and deaf. Their eyes and ears open after three to four weeks, and they develop all their teeth by 42 days.’
To date over 40 kittens have been born at our zoo, five of these have been released into the wild on the Isle of Anglesey and the remainder have moved to start their own families at Knowsley Safari Park, British Wildlife Centre and the Welsh Mountain Zoo.
We’ve got five specially built squirrel cages at our zoo for these amazing creatures. The four at the entrance to the zoo are linked by tunnels, which allow the squirrels much greater freedom and room to run. It also means our rangers can move squirrels from cage to cage or separate young without catching them and causing stress. We’re currently refurbishing these tunnels as the original ones have become rotten and we’ve discovered grey squirrels trying to eat their way in after the nuts that our Reds have stored in there!
The bottom of the cages are made of concrete so that our reds can’t dig out and rats can’t dig in! A thick layer of bark chip is used on the floor so the squirrels can dig and cache their food like they would in the wild. Branches, ropes and chains are hung around the cages for the squirrels to play on. We also provide toys such as hay nets, hessian sacks, ladders and a cargo net!
Our squirrels are fed on a very varied diet, it’s important to introduce them to as many different types of food as possible when they’re born so they don’t become fussy eaters! We feed them a mix of rabbit food, pine nuts, pumpkinseed, banana chip, sunflower seed, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, peanuts and pine cones and as a treat they receive fresh food such as sweetcorn, apple and carrot!
Did you know that they gain important minerals from cuttlefish and deer antler in their pens? Now that’s a conversation starter if ever there was one…
To date over 40 kittens have been born at the zoo, five of these have been released into the wild on the Isle of Anglesey and the remainder have moved to start their own families at Knowsley Safari Park, British Wildlife Centre and the Welsh Mountain Zoo.
Why don’t you adopt one of these beauties for a unique gift? Your support is invaluable and has so far been invested into ‘luxury’ items for the zoo – things we wouldn’t normally be able to afford!
Adopt one of our reds.
Our children’s zoo opens daily at 10:30am and closes at 5:00pm. Animal feeding takes place at 2pm each day and entry is free of charge. See you around…
Pics: Darren Moston.