Part of the Ilkeston Cam "Days Out" Series

Twycross Zoo - Too Much Monkey Business
w/e 9 July 2006
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Twycross Zoo

I wouldn't normally go out of my way to visit a zoo but as it was my youngest grandson's fourth birthday, I obviously didn't want to miss joining the extended family when they went to see the animals at Twycross.


Having said I wouldn't go out of my way, I have to admit that whilst on holiday in Devon about this time last year we did spend a most enjoyable day at the award winning Paignton Zoo. And that's where the lion on the left in the picture above will soon be heading. Now that he has almost reached maturity he has had to be separated from his parents (also seen above) and is currently pacing backwards and forwards in a small enclosure with a very sad look on his face. I am sure he will find much more room at Paignton and also that the grills and cages so necessary for public safety and so obvious in the images above, are nowhere near as intrusive.
Strange Bedfellows

Creatures from all the continents may be seen at Twycross but these two strange bedfellows from South America, a mara and an alpaca put me in mind of that old joke about crossing a kangaroo with a sheep to get woolly jumpers. Mara are large rodents related to the guinea pig family and because their rear legs are slightly longer than their forelegs resemble kangaroos or wallabies.

In the wild, giraffes are normally found in Africa but here at Twycross they exist in a small concrete and tarmac compound and whilst we were there spent most of their time wandering in and out of the building that is their shelter. A leafless tree trunk with various rubber and plastic objects hanging from it seems a poor substitute for the savannah and grassland of central and eastern Africa.

Wild bactrian camels inhabit semi-desert areas in Asia so these two must think they are in absolute luxury with grass under their feet. Bactrians of course have two humps and it is the dromedary that has only one. The standing one at Twycross looks as though it cannot make its mid up which variety it is.

Asia is also represented at Twycross by elephants, easily distinguishable from their African cousins by their smaller ears. All elephants are very social animals and this family group trundled around their compound mirroring our own family as we walked around the zoo.
Sad Eyes

Twycross of course is famous for its conservation work particularly with primates and large sections of the zoo are taken up with cages and compounds occupied by gorillas, oran-utans, monkeys and chimpanzees to name but a few. It was chimpanzees from Twycross that appeared in the PG Tips tea commercials but their television stardom is now over. This one sat slumped in a corner behind a glass panel looking very miserable. In fact the majority of Twycross' animals wore bored expressions and had very sad eyes. It is perhaps unfair to compare Twycross with Paignton as both perform valuable conservation and educational work but having visited both in less than a year, I'm afraid that Twycross - for the human visitor - came in a poor second. Maybe, as Chuck Berry sang, at Twycross there's "too much monkey business". Perhaps I was spoiled by Paignton but both zoos have their own excellent websites and are full of information.
Visit them by following these links.
Twycross Zoo website ------- Paignton Zoo website

Back to Days Out Index
Special Features Index
Terms & Conditions of Use
This website is copyright but licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence.
Please credit the photographer Garth Newton, or add a link to these pages.