Spring is arriving at the zoo and the natural flora and fauna is in full swing.
Dartmoor zoo is a haven for animals and birds that are free to come and go. Over 30 species of wild bird have been recorded at the zoo from the tiny Goldcrest to the huge Buzzard and Raven. The Jackdaws are nest building around the main house and the wrens have taken up residence just outside the office window. The wild bird chorus in the morning and evening at this time of year is a cacophany of sound as they compete for the best territories. Look around the trees as you wander through the zoo at the nest boxes placed throughout. The Blue Tits are nesting everywhere. We eagerly await the imminent arrival of the Swallows that will soon be ducking and weaving in our large open, soon to be African paddock, opposite the restaurant. The male birds are in full colour now trying to catch the eye of the females, and our resident Peacocks are in full tail too, fanning their spectacular plumage to everything that'll take a look. Woodpeckers are drumming in the new season and the Tree Creepers are busy scurrying up and down the giant oak trees.
The flora is in full cycle with the changing colours throughout spring. The snowdrops are just finishing their flourish and are making way for the crocuses and daffodils. Soon it will be the turn of the bluebells and the rhododendron. We also have many rarer plants like the Australian fern, lime trees, eucolyptus and evergreen oak.
As you walk up the main drive you will see our large pond used by our Capybara. Take a closer look at the waters edge and you will see that the frogs have spawned leaving huge clumps of jellied eggs. The pond will be alive with tadpoles before long. At the top of the drive, behind the eucalyptus tree, another small pond is home to several newts and dragonfly will soon adorn the reeds later in the spring.
Whatever time of year you come, keep a sharp eye out. As well as our exhibit animals there is a world of natural beauty around you. So you can be sure of a natural spectacle. Look beyond the enclosures.
There's more to Dartmoor zoo than just a zoo, if you just take another look around.