Northumberland Zoo ~ Oct 2021 ~ part 2

Before we get to the Snow Leopards we’ll have a quick look at some other residents in the zoo.

They have Shetland Ponies, which always remind me of the wonderful books by Norman Thelwell I read as a kid.

Ponies

I’d thought these were Ostriches when I first visited, but nope, they are Greater Rheas, which are smaller, and are the largest birds in South America. They are related to ostriches and emu’s and like them, can’t fly. Seems a bit daft to me to be a bird and unable to fly, but hey ho each to his/her own.

not Ostriches.

Before the big cats arrived the only other felines at the zoo were a pair of Canadian Lynx and these proved to be quite elusive in their large enclosure as it is full of tall plants, but this day I at least got to see them sleeping.

The Canadian lynx, is a North American wild cat that ranges in forest and tundra regions across Canada and into Alaska, as well as some parts of the northern United States. Historically, the Canadian lynx ranged from Alaska across Canada and into many of the northern U.S. states. It’s a good climber and swimmer; it constructs rough shelters under fallen trees or rock ledges. It has a thick coat and broad paws, and is twice as effective as the bobcat at supporting its weight on the snow. The Canada lynx feeds almost exclusively on snowshoe hares; its population is highly dependent on the population of this prey animal. It will also hunt medium-sized mammals and birds if hare numbers fall.

snoozy lynx

The new arrivals now, firstly the Arctic Foxes.

The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), also known as the white fox, polar fox, or snow fox, is a small fox native to the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and common throughout the Arctic tundra biome. It is well adapted to living in cold environments, and is best known for its thick, warm fur that is also used as camouflage. It has a large and very fluffy tail. In the wild, most individuals do not live past their first year but some exceptional ones survive up to 11 years. Its body length ranges from 46 to 68 cm (18 to 27 in), with a generally rounded body shape to minimize the escape of body heat.

Arctic foxes must endure a temperature difference of up to 90–100 °C (160–180 °F) between the external environment and their internal core temperature. To prevent heat loss, the Arctic fox curls up tightly tucking its legs and head under its body and behind its furry tail. This position gives the fox the smallest surface area to volume ratio and protects the least insulated areas. Arctic foxes also stay warm by getting out of the wind and residing in their dens Although the Arctic foxes are active year-round and do not hibernate, they attempt to preserve fat by reducing their locomotor activity. They build up their fat reserves in the autumn, sometimes increasing their body weight by more than 50%. This provides greater insulation during the winter and a source of energy when food is scarce.

Natural predators of the Arctic fox are golden eagles,Arctic wolves, polar bears, wolverines, red foxes, and grizzly bears. Not many of those in Northumberland so these two can live a long life.

Foxy

FInally the Snow Leopards. These beautiful big cats are native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia, the global population is estimated to number fewer than 10,000 mature individuals and is expected to decline about 10% by 2040. The snow leopard shows several adaptations for living in a cold, mountainous environment. Its small rounded ears help to minimize heat loss. Its broad paws well distribute the body weight for walking on snow, and have fur on their undersides to increase the grip on steep and unstable surfaces; it also helps to minimize heat loss. Its long and flexible tail helps to maintain balance in the rocky terrain. The tail is very thick due to fat storage, and is covered in a thick layer of fur, which allows the cat to use it like a blanket to protect its face when asleep.

I took so many photos I couldn’t choose which one or two to post, so I made a couple of short videos to show them off. The ladies names are Nieva and Karli.

in B&W
and in glorious technicolour

So that’s that. Next week we’ll be off to someotherwhere so stay tooned for that!

all pictures embiggenable when you clickerate them
full album with more birds, animals etc HERE.

49 thoughts on “Northumberland Zoo ~ Oct 2021 ~ part 2

  1. vids are up and running for me.

    I’ve always liked shetland ponies ever since I first read the Hobbit. I just imagine little hobbits and dwarves riding around on them singing songs, very loudly 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful picures, Fraggle, and an interesting read. It indeed is kind of silly a bird that can’t fly. But then, they do excist. I read that evolution once tried a fish that couldn’t swim. It didn’t work out. 🙂 Those artic foxes are adorable and very well adapted to their… wait… *David Attenborough voice on*… habitat. I can’t help thinking however, that all this work to stay warm could have been avoided by just moving to warmer places. We got hares too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful. Fraggle. I like your switching from color to gray scale. Is this done by using another camera or in the developing.
    Shetlands are cute ponies but tend to be stubborn and tricky. A Welsh pony on the other hand are a little taller but wonderful for kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely choices, and the snow leopards are special indeed. I used to like Lynx when I was small, because of their tufty ears!
    The biggest predator of the Arctic Fox was humans of course. Their fur was prized for coats and hats at one time. I would magine they are still hunted in Russia, and other Arctic countries.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just love the Arctic foxes – – they were one of the main reasons I wanted to go to the Arctic – polar bears are OK but elusive – – the fox was very obliging – not sure how to share a photo !!

    Liked by 1 person

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