Date: 11 Dec 2019
We recently welcomed some new furry residents!
The zoo’s farm area is now home to a number of rabbits and guinea pigs which arrived from Streamvale Farm in early October. We also had a miniature baby boom when some of our new arrivals arrived pregnant! The new farm animals and their babies are settling in well and can be seen in the Belfast Zoo farm area.
A domestic rabbit can turn each ear 180 degrees, which means they can locate the exact spot any sound is coming from. They are sociable quiet animals who communicate through body language and facial features, which is important as they have 360-degree vision. A domestic rabbit is a species of the European rabbit.
It was around the 16th century when American guinea pigs were brought to Europe. The ‘guinea’ part of the name comes from sailors who brought the guinea pigs over from South America and sold them for a guinea (old English coin). Whereas ‘pig’ is said to be because of the noises they make reminding you of a piglet. Guinea pigs do not have any tails but do have short ears and a sturdy body. They have around 20 teeth which continue to grow, so it is vital that they always have something to gnaw on. Guinea pigs are social creatures and are known for making a variety of vocalisations. They do not sleep a lot during the day or night and are more likely to take smaller naps.
Zoo curator, Raymond Robinson, said, “Our adorable new arrivals are sure to be a hit with all our visitors. The farm area and our knowledgeable farm team play an important role in educating all our visitors about native conservation and farm life. We can’t wait to share all our knowledge about guinea pigs and domestic rabbits with you during your next visit to the zoo! You can visit our new arrivals at the indoor farm area along with our pygmy goats, Shetland ponies and white-breasted barn owls. The farm area also has further developments planed in the future to continue to support native conservation and farm life.’’