Feeding Invertebrates at the Zoo

[audio: /wp-content/uploads/2011/12/feeding_invertebrates_at_the_zoo.mp3]

John Partridge tells us what the zoo’s invertebrates eat from the Downs

Stick insect on leaf

Vietnamese Stick Insects (Ryan Somma)


John Partridge:

Well, we will use the Downs for small amounts of what I call wild forage, for our invertebrates, and occasionally for our reptiles. We do produce a lot of the food ourselves, but very occasionally we will send one of our keepers onto the Downs to collect, particularly bramble. It’s useful and eaten quite a lot by various species of invertebrates that we keep here, things like locusts or stick insects. And then other foliage, sometimes dandelion, which most people consider to be a weed, it can be used as an enclosure decoration and if you like enrichment for the enclosure for species as well, but primarily it is as a food source. But it is really using very small amounts on a daily basis. We’ve had a reptile house here for very many years, since probably the 1950s or 60s, I’m not sure how much the Downs would have been used for forage then, but probably a little bit, even 50 or 60 years ago.

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