MARGAY NEW .jpg

MARGAY

Leopardus wiedii

The Margay is a spotted cat native to the Americas. Named after Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, a German explorer and naturalist in the Eighteenth century, which is reflected in its latin name.

Interesting fact: Margay are also known as the Tree Ocelot; flexible ankles allow them to climb up and down trees easily.

Habitat & threats:

The Margay lives in areas of dense forest, although they have been observed in coffee and cocoa plantations. They spend the majority of their time high up in trees. They are threatened by habitat destruction and hunting; around 14,000 Margay are trapped each year for the fur trade. Natural predators include larger carnivores and snakes such as the Boa constrictor.

Diet:

Mostly small mammals (including monkeys) as well as birds, eggs, lizards and tree frogs.

Breeding and social dynamics:

Margay are solitary, nocturnal animals who have a large territory which they mark by spraying urine and scratching branches. Adults only come together to breed. Females attract males with a long, moaning call. The male responds by yelping or making trilling sounds, and also by rapidly shaking his head from side to side, a behaviour not seen in any other cat species.

Usually only one kitten is born after about 80 days of pregnancy.

Conservation:

Part of a managed European breeding programme.

JUNGLE ZOO LEAVES .jpg
MEERKATS NEW.jpg

SLENDER TAILED MEERKATS

Suricata suricatta

The meerkat is a member of the mongoose family. They get their name from the Afrikaans word for 'watching' or 'looking' cat, as a member of the group is always on sentry duty keeping watch for predators.

Interesting fact: The dark patches around the Meerkat's eyes shield them from the glare of the African sun, Iike built-in sunglasses!

Habitat & threats:

They are found throughout the dry and arid terrain of the Kalahari Desert. Threats are mainly natural predators; large snakes hunt Meerkats but they are fiercely defensive and even when they get bitten they often survive venomous snake bites because they have developed a level of immunity to venom.

Diet:

Meerkats are primarily insectivores, but also eat lizards, snakes, scorpions, spiders, plants, eggs, small mammals and, more rarely, small birds. Meerkats are one of the very few predators of the scorpions of the Kalahari Desert. They have no excess body fat stores, so foraging for food is a daily requirement.

Breeding and social dynamics:

A group of meerkats are called a “mob” “gang” or “clan”. A meerkat clan often contains about 20 animals. They have a strong social structure and are led by an 'alpha' pair. It is the alpha pair who breed up to 4 times a year. After a gestation of about 77 days a litter of up to 5 blind pups are born in an underground den. Pups start to leave the den after three weeks.

JUNGLE ZOO LEAVES .jpg
CIVET 2.jpg

Owston's civets

Chrotogale owstoni

Owston's civets are the focus of an in-situ conservation program in Vietnam. This species has always been considered vulnerable and, until now, they had not previously been studied in the wild.

Interesting fact: In February 2013 two male civets were flown from the UK to join the in-situ project in Vietnam; one of them was from Shaldon!

Habitat & threats:

They have a limited range in lowland and montane evergreen forests, bamboo forest and wooded lowland river basins. The proximity of water combined with dense woodland habitat that this animal prefers means that they are under significant threat from man. Hunting through the use of snares combined with deforestation is a real threat to this beautiful and elusive animal.

Diet:

Earthworms form the bulk of this animal’s natural diet, they are also known to eat small vertebrates, insects and fruit.

Breeding and social dynamics:

Science knows very little about this animal’s behaviour in the wild; it is nocturnal and is believed to be solitary with pairs only coming together to mate and the female rearing the young on her own. After a gestation period of between 75-87 days a litter of between one and three young are born.

Conservation:

Part of a managed European breeding programme.


JUNGLE ZOO LEAVES .jpg
AZARA'S AGOUTI NEW.jpg

AZARA'S AGOUTI

Dasyprocta azarae

Often referred to as the Jungle Gardeners, they provide a vital role in the forests of South America as they bury seeds and nuts to store for later, a little like squirrels.

Interesting fact: Agoutis are the only animal with teeth strong enough to open the grapefruit-sized seed pods of the Brazil nut and are therefore crucial to the survival of the tree.

Habitat & threats:

This species is found in both tropical rain forests and tropical dry forests of South America. Listed as Data Deficient because there is still very little information about its population density and ecological requirements. They are considered at risk due to the destruction of forests for logging and agriculture. Natural predators include the Jaguarundi, Jaguar, Ocelot and large snakes. Indigenous people also hunt them for food.

Diet:

They eat mostly seeds, nuts and fallen fruits although they will eat bird's eggs and carrion if they find it.

Breeding and social dynamics:

Azara's agouti are shy animals that drum their hind feet like rabbits when disturbed and spend their lives foraging for food. They are known to be good swimmers and yet strangely they only have three toes on their hind feet. Twins are usually born after a gestation of about 90 days.

Conservation:

Part of a managed European breeding programme.

JUNGLE ZOO LEAVES .jpg
TREE SHREW NEW.jpg

NORTHERN TREE SHREW

Tupaia belangeri

Tree shrews are small omnivores and have the largest brain to body ratio of any mammal, including humans. They are a diurnal species and are almost constantly active during this time. Their highly developed senses make them very wary of their surroundings.

Habitat & threats:

Tropical forests. They spend much of their time in the trees as well as foraging for insects on the ground. Their preferred habitat is rainforest but they very adaptable and are seen inhabiting oil palm and coconut plantations as well as regenerating scrub-land of abandoned dry rice fields. For this species at least the ongoing deforestation in Asia does not pose a significant threat. Natural predators include snakes, birds of prey and wild cats.

Diet:

Omnivores, Tree shrews eat mostly insects as well as small invertebrates and some fruit and seeds.

Breeding and social dynamics:

Northern tree shrews typically live in monogamous pairs. One male and one female will have overlapping territories; the male will defend his territory from other males, and the female will defend hers from other females. The female has a litter of up to three young who are born naked and blind and she only returns to the nest to suckle them every two days. The young emerge after 2 months fully weaned.

Conservation:

They are listed as least concern due to their wide range, abundance, tolerance of habitat disturbance, and presence in numerous protected areas.

JUNGLE ZOO LEAVES .jpg
ARMADILLO NEW.jpg

Southern three-banded armadillo

Tolypeutes matacus

The southern three-banded armadillo is remarkable for being one of the few armadillo species capable of rolling into a ball. The armour-plating that covers the body is divided into two domed shells, with three armoured bands in between, joined by flexible bands of skin.

Habitat & threats

This armadillo is found in areas of dry vegetation within the Chaco. It usually does not dig burrows but rather uses abandoned burrows of other species or hides in dense vegetation. It is hunted for food, being easy to catch and also suffers from habitat loss through the conversion of habitat to agricultural use.

Diet

Most armadillo species forage in the early morning and evening hours for a variety of invertebrates and insects, including beetles, grubs, and worms. Because, like many burrowing animals, armadillos tend to have extremely poor eyesight, their hunting skills rely on their abilities to smell their food.

Breeding and social dynamics

Breeding occurs between October and January, with most births occurring between November and January. After a gestation period of 120 days, the female gives birth to a single young, which is suckled for a further 10 weeks.

Conservation

The southern three-banded armadillo is found in a number of protected areas, which provide a refuge from the habitat destruction that is occurring within its range. In addition, a captive population of this species is maintained in zoos.

JUNGLE ZOO LEAVES .jpg
PREVOST SQUIRELL.jpg

SUMATRAN PREVOST’S SQUIRREL

Caloscurius prevostii rafflesii

There are 5 recognised sub-species of Prevost’s squirrel, all of which can be found on the islands and mainland of Southeast Asia.

Habitat & threats:

This sub-species occurs in the lowland forests of Sumatra. They can also be found in oil palm and coconut plantations where they are regarded as pests. Their forest homes are disappearing fast and they are also hunted for the pet trade.

Diet:

They feed mostly on a variety of nuts and seeds as well as soft fruits and flowers. They will also eat insects to supplement their diet.

Breeding and social dynamics:

Prevost’s squirrels are solitary in the wild and communicate with a range of chirps, whistles and tail waving. The female chooses a mate through an elaborate courtship chase where only the fittest male will be chosen. They can have up to three litters a year, with the youngsters leaving the nest after only six weeks.

Conservation:

Part of a managed European breeding programme.

JUNGLE ZOO LEAVES .jpg
DEER MOUSE NEW.jpg

JAVA MOUSE DEER

Tragulus javanicus

Mouse deer are the smallest of all the hooved animals. Adults are about the size of a rabbit and stand at just 30cm tall.

Habitat & threats

The Javan mouse deer prefers habitats of higher elevations and the tropical forest regions of Java. During the day, they can be seen in areas of dense undergrowth of creeping bamboo, through which they make tunnels which lead to resting places and feeding areas. The most significant threat comes from logging and the expansion of agricultural activities but humans also hunt them for food as well as live trapping for the pet trade.

Diet

They are mostly folivores, meaning that they eat leaves and young shoots; however they will also eat fungi, roots and even insects.

Breeding and social dynamics

Although Javan mouse deer form monogamous family groups, they are usually shy, solitary animals. They are also usually silent; the only noise they make is a shrill cry when they are frightened; they also stamp their hooves as a warning. Females give birth to a single fawn and a group of mouse deer is referred to as a herd.

Conservation

Part of a managed European breeding programme.

JUNGLE ZOO LEAVES .jpg
HARVEST MOUSE NEW.jpg

EURASIAN HARVEST MOUSE

Micromys minutus

The Harvest mouse is one of Britain’s smallest mammals weighing in at only 4-6g. They have many predators: weasels, stoats, foxes, cats, owls, hawks and crows.

Habitat & threats

The harvest mouse is mainly found from central Yorkshire southwards. Isolated records from Scotland and Wales probably result from the release of captive animals. Areas of tall grass such as cereals, road side verges, hedgerows, reed beds, dykes and salt marshes provide favourable habitats where nests can be built.

Diet

Omnivores; their diet is predominantly a mixture of seeds, berries and insects.

Breeding and social dynamics

Harvest mice usually have two or three litters a year in the wild, between late May and October, but even into December if the weather is mild. Most litters are born in August.

JUNGLE ZOO LEAVES .jpg
JUNGLE ZOO LEAVES .jpg
Bettong.jpg

BRUSH-TAILED BETTONG

Bettongia pencillata

Also known as a woylie, this is an extremely rare, small marsupial that is endemic to Australia. There were two subspecies, but one is now extinct. Since 2001, the population has crashed by over 90% which means the entire species is at risk of becoming extinct in the wild.

Habitat & threats

Preferring open woodlands and grasslands, with a dense understory where they can create pathways in tussocks of grasses. The exact cause of this rapid population crash remains uncertain. Predation from feral cats and foxes as well as habitat destruction contribute to the recent decline of the species.

Diet

The brush-tailed bettong has an unusual diet for a mammal. Although it may eat bulbs, tubers, seeds, insects, and resin of the hakea plant, the bulk of its nutrients are derived from underground fungi which it digs out with its strong foreclaws.

Breeding and social dynamics

The female can breed at six months of age and give birth every 3.5 months. Its lifespan in the wild is about four to six years. The brush-tailed bettong is able to use its tail, to carry bundles of nesting material. It builds its dome-shaped nest in a shallow scrape under a bush.

Conservation

As of 2011, the global population is estimated to be less than 5,600 individuals. It is said to be "on the brink of extinction”. There are a number of protected areas free of predators where conservation work is being focused as well as a captive breeding programme in Australia and European zoos, including Shaldon.

JUNGLE ZOO LEAVES .jpg