Snake wrapped around a woman’s neck ... and pen­guins eaten by foxes

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SNAKE THAT TRIED TO CHOKE DIS­ABLED KEEPER

A dis­abled woman on work ex­pe­ri­ence per­form­ing an­i­mal demon­stra­tions at Snakes Alive at Bar­ley­lands, Es­sex, had to be saved by mem­bers of the pub­lic when a corn snake wrapped tightly around her neck, re­ports re­veal. Zoo direc­tor Daniel Hep­ple­white said: ‘Un­for­tu­nately she couldn’t get the snake from her neck and a mem­ber of staff was called to re­move it.’

PEA­COCK’S HEAD EATEN BY RATS

Whistle­blow­ers de­scribed how a pea­cock put in iso­la­tion be­cause of a bird flu out­break was for­got­ten about and died of star­va­tion – be­fore rats ‘ate its head’. A re­port into the in­ci­dent at Woburn Sa­fari Park in Bed­ford­shire said: ‘We were as­sured that this was a very un­usual sce­nario caused by hu­man er­ror and com­mu­ni­ca­tion break­down.’

CAIMAN LEFT TO DIE OUT­SIDE IN WIN­TER

At Beaver Wa­ter World in Surrey, star at­trac­tion Colin the Caiman is said to have died when keepers left him out­side dur­ing cold weather. Af­ter the death, keepers told visi­tors he had been moved to a ‘ good home’ to ‘sugar the pill’ for the pub­lic.

Owner Stella Quayle has ad­mit­ted the caiman – a close rel­a­tive of the croc­o­dile – died be­cause he was left out­side, but a zoo spokesman sub­se­quently said the en­clo­sure was in­doors and

heated to 30C at the time.

GATES AT PEN KEPT SHUT WITH STONES

In­spec­tors found gates to en­clo­sures for large an­i­mals were kept shut with stones at Pon­derosa Rural Therapeutic Cen­tre, York­shire. Of­fi­cials said 18 of the largest and most exotic an­i­mals died in un­ex­plained cir­cum- stances in 2016 alone. A spokesman said: ‘We are a com­pletely

dif­fer­ent op­er­a­tion from 12 months ago. We have new man­age­ment and new an­i­mals.’

MYS­TERY DEATHS OF MEERKATS

Poor record keep­ing was crit­i­cised in re­ports into Wood­side Wildlife Park, Lin­colnshire, where of­fi­cials noted the unex- plained deaths of 14 meerkats, 16 bats and four prairie dogs in 12 months. Direc­tor Neil Mumby at­trib­uted the high death toll to ‘cler­i­cal in­putting er­rors’.

PEN­GUIN MAS­SACRE AF­TER FOXES GET IN

Four rock­hop­per pen­guins were killed by a fox which had got into their pen af­ter an elec­tric fence failed at Whip­snade Zoo in Bed­ford­shire in 2013. The same prob­lem oc­curred three years pre­vi­ously, when six pen­guins died. A spokesman for the zoo said the fence was re­paired im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the at­tack four years ago.

MON­KEYS ES­CAPE THROUGH THE ROOF

Five es­capes by mon­keys were recorded in eight months last year due to poor main­te­nance and di­lap­i­dated en­clo­sures at Kent’s Howletts Wild An­i­mal Park. In one in­ci­dent, 11 Ja­van lan­gur mon­keys fled to­gether when a gate was left open.

An­i­mal direc­tor Adrian Har­land said dis­ci­plinary ac­tion had been taken against a keeper. Holes in a mon­key house roof which al­lowed the es­capes had since been fixed.

OWLS TETHERED TO THEIR PERCHES

At Thirsk Birds of Prey Cen­tre in York­shire, owls were found to have been per­ma­nently tethered to perches and some had no ac­cess to day­light. Con­di­tions made at an ear­lier in­spec­tion were not en­forced be­cause of­fi­cials for­got to carry out checks. Owner Colin Badgery said: ‘All birds have ac­cess to day­light.’ He added: ‘No owls are now per­ma­nently tethered.’

Get­ting up close: A vis­i­tor hand-feeds a tiger at Wood­side Wildlife Park in Lin­colnshire

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