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