Saturday, 2 April 2011

Shepreth Wildlife Park

England has lots of small wildlife parks scattered about and they are all very different. I hesitate to call them zoos as they are much smaller in size. I also have found that different wildlife centers tend to specialize in exhibiting a specific type of animal along with a few other species mix in. For example the park near my husband's work tends to focus mostly on primates but does have a few other things to see like wallaby's, various birds and camels. There is a raptor center near us that focuses mainly on birds, mostly owls and birds of prey. Most if not all have a outdoor/indoor play ground for children so you can let the children have a play while parents rest and have a cuppa (British term for a cup of tea)!

Today we met up with the British homeschooling group and went to Shepreth Wildlife Park which the kids and I had never been to before. We met with the park warden and had a special class showing the kids a few of the animals that they had at the park.

First the kids got to see an albino skunk and learn all about skunks. I was a bit shocked to learned that it is illegal for zoos in the UK to perform a procedure to remove the stink gland. So this skunk was able to spray all of us should it get upset. However it was hand raised and extremely friendly but that didn't stop a few of the kids and adults to stand up in a hurry and head for the door when it raised its tail:)

Next up was the Leopard Gecko. My kids just got a gecko as a pet about a month ago so they were very eager to share all they knew with the group. I am sure it was annoying to everyone else in the room, and I did try to stop them but only partially exceeded:)

Next we learned all about Millipedes and how they are different from centipedes. Even now looking at the picture I feel the need to scratch, I just don't like these things---too many legs.

A Corn Snake. there are only 3 snakes in England and one was poisonous. The Adder!! I didn't know there were any venomous snake here.

A very big stick bug!

Just as we were wrapping up a park employee came in with a animal that had been brought to the center that morning for care.

This is a baby gray squirrel had fallen out of its nest. It was so tiny its eyes were closed and had no hair that I could see on its body. The warden had it covered with cotton and sitting on a hot water bottle. While showing the kids the warden explained that the ethical situation the park had now been put in and wanted the kids to help make the decision. In England it is illegal to raise a squirrel with the idea of releasing it back into the wild. If the zoo took on the responsibility of caring for this animal then it would have to either keep the squirrel in the park or in another rescue center where it would remained caged for life. The other possibility that they brought up to the children was to humanely allow the squirrel to die. There was quite a lively discussion from the children and the adults but ultimately the children voted that the warden should do everything in its power to aid the squirrel. I just love these ethical questions and the discussions they bring with them.

Some other animals we saw:

Red Fox

These were my favorite the Asian Otters. They were so cute, inquisitive and just fun to watch:)


Snowy Owls

The park had acquired in 1998 2 hybrid tigers. This was the only time I felt that the animals enclosures were to small. Although the wardens do enrichment activities with all their animals I felt these animal needed more space to roam.

Overall I thought the park was clean and the animal enclosures clean and adequate for the animals (except the tigers) . All the animals appeared to be in good physical health, however we did see a few of them pacing around their cages which I always take as a sign of stress for the animal. Talking to several of the park warden they were knowledgeable and quite friendly. The kids and I will be back to explore further.

It is a new month over at NOBH. Come join Tracy, Lynda and I and link up your posts. We would love to see you there:)!


  1. Hi! I'm here visiting from the workbox group. I wish we had the same kind of parks near us. We have to travel at least half an hour to get to the small zoo by us and an hour to get to the big one. But the big one is the Bronx Zoo which is so incredible that we become members each year and visit 6 or 7 times through the year, so I guess it's not so bad! :) Enjoy!

  2. I love reading about all your adventures! I don't think you could have chosen a better name for your blog since there is no telling what the next adventure will be. It's always fun to read all about your exciting field trips and experiences. This post was great! I had no idea there was such a thing as an albino skunk and I would have stepped back too wondering if the skunk was going to use its stink gland! :) That baby gray squirrel is cute and I'm glad the kids want to have the park save it! Glad you had a fun trip and clicked a vote for you today, Saturday!

  3. Hi Anna-Marie,
    Happy Sunday and clicked another vote for you! Have a blessed day!

  4. Hi! Thank you for stopping by! Glad to know the folders are working for you and we aren't alone in the lack of space department :) I'm super jealous of your parks and all the neat animals and insects you were able to interact with! Too fun!!! Have a great week!!

  5. Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog! I think your trip to visit all those neat animals and creatures looks great, but I have to admit-I am not a fan of "creepy" things and some of those animals look downright creepy! We have a zoo about 1/2 hour from us and it is really neat, but not as interesting as where you went! Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

  6. Your daughter is very brave to handle all those animals and insects. They would creep me out. lol

    These parks look like so much fun though, and my son and I would love them. Thank you so much for sharing all your adventures. You take wonderful pictures and your descriptions are great.

    I have been voting for you. My sister goes home tomorrow, so I'm hoping to get back to a more normal schedule. We had many talks with mom, and are holding out hope to keep her at home with me. We shall see.

    Hope you are having a good weekend. =)

  7. Hi Sandie,
    Thanks for stopping by, I haven't made it to the Bronx zoo but it must be great having a yearly pass

  8. Hi Tracy,
    It was good about the squirrel because over here people hate the gray squirrel because it is killing off the British red squirrel.

  9. Hi Sarah
    Good luck with the work box folder system it is working for us most days:)

  10. Hi Faith,
    Thanks for commenting, I did well with them except the millipede that one I didn't touch:)

  11. Hi Lynda,
    I am so glad you had a nice visit with your sister and hope it helps with your mother. I have been thinking of you lots.

  12. I love reading about all your adventures. I can't wait to see all your posts over the upcoming WWII unit. That museum looked very interesting. You live in such an awesome place!!! Very cool info about this animal center!
    Have a great week

  13. We have stick bugs, but that is a VERY big stick bug. I need to show our bug lover that photo.

  14. Hi Renita,
    Thanks we love living here there is so much to do!

  15. Hi Kara,
    Yes it was a large one, I can't remember where they said it came from but it didn't look like anything I have seen in the states.