Tuesday, 5 April 2016
An Egg for a Meerkat
Saturday would have been my Grandad's 92nd birthday. As Saturdays are also 'Nanny Days', my parents took Nanny to Drusillas Park at Alfriston, for a special day out involving meerkats, lemurs, lorikeets and more...
(Of course, I went along too!)
Lots of pictures of cute wild animals ahead!
Drusillas has two meerkat enclosures, which was perfect because Nanny loves meerkats!
One of the meerkat enclosures has tunnels underneath, with a little 'bubble' that comes up in the middle of the enclosure, allowing children to get a closer look. Last time I went to Drusillas, I clambered through the tunnel (and clonked my head--it's really not built for adults. But I don't care!)
I managed to get this shot with my camera from the outside. It was a lovely sunny day, and the meerkats were pretty active!
But Drusillas boasts far more than just meerkats...
The zoo also has three walk-through exhibits, which allow a closer look at the animals, without bars or mesh in the way!
Of course each exhibit has rules, for the safety of the animals and the visitors. Drusillas places emphasis on the fact that these animals are not pets. This is an important point and I was glad to hear it being brought up during the talk in their Lemurland exhibit.
We reached this exhibit just as the talk was starting, which was also feeding time, so the lemurs were extremely active! It's amazing to be able to get so close to them--I snapped the above photo after turning around and finding a lemur on the fence post right behind me! He was quite happy with his food.
We soon moved ahead to the next walk-through exhibit, 'Lori Landing', home of the rainbow lorikeets!
This is where visitors can get even closer to the residents of the zoo, as Drusillas sell nectar pots for £1, which can be used to feed these colourful birds.
Nanny and I both fed them, and I ended up with three lorikeets on my arm (and discovered that it is possible to use a fancy camera with one hand. But only just).
The other walk-through exhibit at Drusillas is the Bat Cave, which also houses a pair of beautiful sloths, and some tamarins (golden lion tamarins I think...) This exhibit has both an indoor and outdoor section, and the sloths seemed to be enjoying the sunshine.
I tried to get some photos inside too, but only got some fuzzy images on my phone due to the low lighting. But it is awesome to have bats swooping about your head!
There are a number of different animals at Drusillas, including monkeys, reptiles, penguins, farm animals, birds and rodents!
I was glad to see a red panda roaming around its enclosure, as last time I was at the zoo, it was fast asleep in a tree!
I was also pleased to see the capybaras! They're such unusual-looking creatures, and they seem so calm as they mooch around and munch on their food (though not as calm as the otters, who were sunbathing!)
But I said this was a special day out, didn't I?
As it was was a special occasion, my parents had organised a special surprise for Nanny: a Meerkat Meeting experience!
Nanny was able to accompany the keeper into one of the meerkat enclosures, and fed them some eggs, which are part of a long list of bugs, grubs and other little creatures that meerkats eat!
Once she sat down, the meerkats were soon climbing all over her! The keeper, Gemma, took very good care of Nanny and talked about the meerkats and what they eat, etc.
One of the meerkats sat on Nanny's hands for ages, and seemed quite comfortable there.
It was a really lovely day, and Nanny was grinning from ear to ear by the end of it. I'm really glad that Nanny was able to have this close up experience with her favourite animal, especially on such a day as this.
Thanks, Drusillas, for continually being awesome.
If you live in, or are planning to visit, the area around Alfriston, I would definitely recommend going to Drusillas. It's not a huge zoo, and there are more commercialised parts (such as Hello Kitty Secret Garden, a Thomas the Tank Engine train ride, and a large play area all towards the end of the zoo route) but the entry fee is well worth it! Your visit helps the zoo to work on conservation projects, and give the animals the specialised care they need.