Animals big and small weigh-in at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 August 2018 | UPDATED: 07:49 28 August 2018

Weigh-in at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL

Weigh-in at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL


Big things are happening at ZLS Whipsnade Zoo and we’re not just talking about the rhinos.

Zookeepers at Whipsnade have coaxed all the animals to step onto the scales for their annual weigh-in.

This is a huge-scale operation which included thousands of animals of all shapes and sizes from the light as a feather butterflies to the colossal rhinos.

In order to keep track of the health and wellbeing of all 3,500 creatures they must have this vital weighing as part of their frequent check up, which involves all the animals being encouraged by zookeepers to hop on the scales.

Weighing in at over one and a half tons was Behan - a female Asian rhinoceros. She had to use industrial scales, being one of the heaviest animals at the zoo.

Weigh-in at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSLWeigh-in at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL

While Partula, a tiny snail which is extinct from the wild, stepped on to extra sensitive scales in order to be weighed accurately and came out at just 4mg.

These measurements and the others are recorded into the zoological information management system (ZIMS).

This database is shared with zoos all around the country and helps keepers gather critical information about endangered species.

Zoological manager Matthew Webb said: “All of our animals at ZLS Whipsnade Zoo have regular check-ups and are monitored daily, but the annual weigh-in is an opportunity to make sure the information we’ve recorded is up-to-date and accurate.

Weigh-in at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSLWeigh-in at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL

“With so many animals that are all so different from one another, our keepers have to come up with creative tactics to entice them onto the scales, from getting meerkats to clamber onto tiny scales to retrieve live crickets, to gently encouraging our Przewalski’s horses (an endangered species of Mongolian wild horse) to walk over a large weight board for a veggie reward.”

These checks, and others like waist measurements, can not only be used by keepers as a key gauge of the animals’ well-being but also to identify other crucial information such as whether an endangered animal is pregnant.

This forms an important part the zoo’s international conservation breeding programme.

More news stories


It’s said to be the most wonderful time of the year, but is it really for everyone?


Tickets have gone on sale for an annual Hertfordshire music festival at a special discounted price.


More than 100 children in St Albans will be homeless this Christmas, according to housing charity Shelter.


Court results published by the Herts Ad are taken from St Albans, Stevenage and Hatfield Magistrates Court and are published without prejudice.


I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

Digital Edition

Read the The Herts Advertiser e-edition E-edition
Zoo Watch CountryPhile

Newsletter Sign Up

Herts Advertiser weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read stories

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Herts Most Wanted Herts Business Awards