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Animal Zone Rodbaston Visitor Centre Animal Zone visit Sunday 25th October 2015

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by cliffxdavis, 26 Oct 2015.

  1. cliffxdavis

    cliffxdavis Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    28 Oct 2011
    Posts:
    105
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Although it is only 20 miles from my home I had never made the effort to visit this collection as I knew it would be small being the Rodbaston campus site of South Staffordshire College where the students that attend the college’s courses in animal care come to get their practical training.

    However when the World Owl Trust had to move from the gardens of Muncaster Castle it had to find temporary homes for its collection and it has divided it up between, Birdworld at Farnham, Surrey, The Scottish Owl Centre, Northern Ireland - World of Owls, Shorelands Wildlife Gardens, Diss, Norfolk and in the West Midlands - Rodbaston Animal Zone.

    While I am not a big bird fan I do like an Owl and as my wife is a big fan of the Burrowing Owl and I knew they had a big group we set off on a bright crisp Sunday morning and arrived there about 10:15.

    If you are thinking of going be aware they are only open at the weekend between 10 and 4 and on school holidays. Check their website for details and they do close from November to February.

    Animal Zone - South Staffordshire College

    In all we stayed a very enjoyable 2.5 hours and I recommend getting there early as everything was far more active at 10 than 12 as the keepers were cleaning out and feeding at the start of the day.

    After paying out entry fee of £5.20 each the first thing you encounter is the water bird aviary housing Demoiselle Cranes, Mandarin Ducks, Sacred Ibis, Cattle Egrets, Black-Crowned Night Heron and Lady Amherst’s Pheasant.

    I usually take a counter clockwise route as theme park studies have shown most people go clockwise after entering a venue and that way I miss the crowds for a while but in truth at the time we arrived there was only two other families on site.

    The first row of Owl cages had been built against the barn and the fencing was made up of a very small mesh shiny material making photography very difficult. I think it was designed to be finger proof.

    On display were European Eagle Owl, Pharaoh’s Eagle Owl, Northern Hawk Owl and Ethopian Eagle Owl.

    All of the enclosures for Owls (except for the Burrowing Owls) were fairly spartan containing a nest box and a couple of perches.

    Opposite these owls is the aquarium. Species on display included Peacock Mantis Shrimp, Silver Arowana, Motoro Stingray, Phantasmal Dart Frog, Blue Dart Frog, Florida Soft Shelled Turtle, and Red Bellied Pirahna.

    There are a number of cages lining the path and at the rear some paddocks.

    On display were Black, Ring Tailed and Red Ruffed lemurs, Raccoon Dogs, Red Necked Wallaby, Capabara, Alpaca, Pigs, Sheep Goats and Ponies.

    Owls displayed were Striped, Burrowing, Bengal Eagle, Barn, Black Banded, Ashy Faced, African Wood, Chaco, Oriental Bay, Long Eared, Great Horned, Spectacled and Snowy. Some (about 5) of the cages could not be approached as the area had not been passed for public access yet.

    The other birds on site were Greater Rhea, Laughing Kookabara, Lilacine Amazon Parrot and Red Breasted Geese.

    And of course, the have Meerkats.

    There is a Tortoise house with Indian Star, Egyptian, Leopard and Home’s Hingeback tortoises. The Leopard tortoises have a large external paddock.

    The Nocturnal House is set up as a tropical house with Geoffrey’s Marmoset in the first unit, Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman and Green Anole in the next, an empty unit then Yellow Mongoose and finally Cotton Topped Tamarin.

    Outside there were two Coati enclosures which were only just adequate in size.

    There is a Rabbit Barn with various examples of rabbit breeds where handling sessions are held.

    The final exhibit is a Reptile House. Species on display included Leaf Cutter Ants, Salmon Pink Bird Eating Spider, Green Iguana, Yemen Chameleon, Dumerils Boa, Baja Blue Rock Lizard, Dabb Lizards, Rio Fuerte Beaded Lizard, Blue Tongued Skink, Standings Day Gecko, Rhinoceros Iguana, Crested Gecko, Spiny Tailed Monitor, Caiman Lizard and Savannah Monitor.

    Various talks are given by the staff during the day. While I was there they had a meet the Owls experience.

    We had an enjoyable and interesting day.
     
  2. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Middlewich,Cheshire U.K
    You appear to have missed the Nocturnal House as they have Kinkajou,Pygmy Slow Loris,Leopard Gecko,Black-eyed Tree Frog and Sugar Gliders in it!
     
  3. cliffxdavis

    cliffxdavis Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    28 Oct 2011
    Posts:
    105
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Not so much missed as it was shut! There was a door but it was locked. Signage not totally clear so I thought the house with the Yellow Mongoose was the "repurposed" Nocturnal House. When were you last there?
     
  4. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Middlewich,Cheshire U.K
    Couple of months ago,the Nocturnal House doesn't normally open till about 12!
     
  5. cliffxdavis

    cliffxdavis Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    28 Oct 2011
    Posts:
    105
    Location:
    Birmingham
    What a shame for me! I would really have liked to see that. Still, I'll know for next time.

    Not sure if I will visit again once the Owls go though.

    Good news they will be even nearer to me in 2017 if the plan comes off.