Zoo Animals at Chessington
Here is a list of all the zoo animals you can see at Chessington Zoo... and don't forget about our amazing SEA LIFE Centre too!
The largest out of all zebra species in the world, Grevy’s Zebra are distinctive for their long ears and white bellies. Every zebra has their own unique black and white stripe patterned fur, similar to how each human has their own individual set of fingerprints. Our Zebras are very friendly and like nothing more than to spend their day grazing.
FUN FACT: Zebras can spend up to three-quarters of their day eating!
Scimitar Horned Oryx
Distinctive for their long, thin curved horns and white and red-brown fur, Scimitar Horned Oryx make a striking sight in our African Reserve. Sadly, Scimitar Horned Oryx were classified as extinct in the wild by IUCN in 2007, so conservation programmes are very important in sustaining the global genetic gene pool.
FUN FACT: To help cope with a lack of water, Scimitar Horned Oryx raise their body temperature up to 46°C to help conserve water by avoiding sweating.
Originally from South Africa, meerkats live in dry areas, feed during the day on insects and other small animals and to keep warm and safe at night they live in burrows underground. Meerkats are sociable animals and can live in groups of up to 20, which plays a key part in their survival.
FUN FACT: Meerkats have dark patches around their eyes that act a little bit like sunglasses, they cut down glare from the sun and help them to see far in the distance.
As their name suggests, Dwarf Mongoose are the smallest mongoose species found throughout Africa. With speckled reddish-brown fur, a short nose and long fluffy tail they are known for their inquisitive nature. Dwarf Mongooses usually live in groups of 12-15 individuals with a dominant male and female leading the pack.
FUN FACT: Only the dominant pair are allowed to breed, on average having three litters a year, with two to four babies each time.
Even though they may look scary with their pointy black and white quills covering their neck and back, Crested Porcupines only use them to defend themselves from predators. They are nocturnal animals who actually spend most of their time looking for food such as insects and fruit.
FUN FACT: Crested Porcupines have been known to travel up to 15km per night in the hunt for something tasty to eat.
Sitatungas are around 1.5 metres tall and are very shy animals that like to spend most of their time by themselves. See if you can spot one hiding in the trees or by their watering hole.
FUN FACT: Sitatungas are amphibious! They have long hooves which help them to swim long distances at a time and they can hold their breath underwater if in danger.
The Ostrich, is a large flightless bird native to Africa and is the only living species of its family. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs and the ability to run at maximum speeds of about 97.5 kilometres per hour (60.6 mph), the top land speed of any bird. The Ostrich is the largest living species of bird and lays the largest egg of any living bird. The diet of the Ostrich mainly consists of plant matter, though it also eats invertebrates.
FUN FACT: Ostriches don't need to drink - they can make their own water internally and top up with what they can extract from vegetation.
Rainbow Lorikeets are small colourful birds, part of the parrot family. They are native to rainforests in Australia, Indonesia and Papa New Guinea. Through our new walkthrough aviary, adventurers can actually feed the lorikeets as they fly down to eat nectar from pots.
FUN FACT: Lorikeets love to eat nectar and pollen and can eat up to 650 flowers a day!
The Mandarin Duck is a medium-sized perching duck, closely related to the Northern American Wood Duck and can grow to 50cm long. They mostly like to eat plants and seeds around dawn or dusk and prefer to live in cavities in trees nearby to water.
FUN FACT: The mandarin duck has become a symbol of wedded bliss and fidelity in traditional China.
Rosy-billed Pochard (Netta Peposaca)
Rosybill Pochard's are instantly recognisable for their bright red bill and black and white striped wings. They feed on aquatic plants by dabbling and head dipping in the water. They also graze offshore where they like to eat seeds, roots, grasses. Rosybill's are very fast flyers and can descend from very high altitudes when trying to escape predators.
FUN FACT: The species name peposaca is derived from a Guarani word for ‘showy wings’.
There are currently 10 gorillas living at Chessington Zoo.
Mother and daughter, Ratna and Kelabu are the spectacular tigers that reside in the Zoo at Chessington World of Adventures.
There are currently two Asiatic Lions at Chessington Zoo, male Ashok and female Kalinga.
There are currently three binturongs living at Chessington Zoo – Mum (Jelita), Dad (Awam) and Son (Mata Mata).
We have male fossa Sambara and female Perinet living at Chessington Zoo.
Mother and son, Willow and Vlad are our resident lynx that live at Chessington Zoo.
Rays are distinctive from other sea dwelling creatures due to their flat bodies and long thin tails. Most rays live on the sea floor and survive by taking water in through small openings on the top of their heads, known as spiracles, and passing it out through their gills. They survive on small clams, snails and fish. At Chessington we have Spotted Rays, Thornback Rays, Undulate Rays and Painted Rays.
FUN FACT: Ancient Greek dentists used the venom from a stingray’s spine as an anesthetic.
Jellyfish are one of the oldest species found on the planet. They come in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes – ranging from 3mm to 3metres in diameter. Jellyfish have long tentacles that are covered in stinging cells which can cause a very painful sting. They do not have a brain, heart or any bones.
FUN FACT: Jellyfish need to be kept in round tanks otherwise they get stuck in the corners! They are very poor swimmers and usually simply drift in the water.
There are over 2,000 species of starfish across the worlds’ oceans. Their underside is covered in hundreds of small tube-like feet which allow them to move about. These tubes also help the starfish to eat by opening shells so the starfish can eat the clams and scallops inside.
FUN FACT: Whilst most starfish have five arms, some have many more. The Sun Starfish can have up to 40 arms! Starfish also have the ability to grow new arms if they lose one.
Lionfish are native to warm waters in the Indian and Pacific oceans. These fish may look pretty with their unusual red and white stripes, but they are not friendly at all! Lionfish are venomous with their needle-like spikes, or fins, packed full of deadly venom, protecting them from predators in the water.
FUN FACT: Lionfish will often spread their spikes and trap small fish there so that they can swallow them more easily.
Puffer fish have a big head and big eyes with a rather small body, which actually makes them quite poor swimmers. Puffer fish are famous for their ability to inflate to almost double their size. They quickly take in huge amounts of water which makes them look bigger and scarier to nearby predators. Puffer fish are also extremely venomous. There is enough toxin in one Puffer fish to kill 30 humans!
FUN FACT: Puffer fish are said to have friendly personalities and good memories. Some even say they learn to recognise their keepers.
There are over 30 species of seahorses around the world, found mainly in sheltered, shallow waters. Seahorses are distinctive from other fish for a number of reasons. They do not have scales, more like a thin skin, they swim upright unlike most fish who swim horizontally, and their eyes can move independently, like a chameleon.
FUN FACT: Male seahorses give birth to their young. The female deposits her eggs into the male’s front pouch and then 2 - 4 weeks later the male gives birth to up to 200 babies!
Most people recognize clownfish for their distinctive orange coloured scales and three white stripes along their body. However, Clownfish can also be yellow, red or even black. They live in small groups in sea anemones. Clownfish are in fact one of the only fish that can remain unharmed by swimming through these poisonous plants.
FUN FACT: Clownfish are all born male, but can change to female at a later stage in their lives.
African Pygmy Goats
Pygmy goats are a small domestic breed of goat, originating from the Cameroon Valley in West Africa. Pygmy goats are known for their good-natured personalities, friendliness and hardy constitution!
FUN FACT: To help them keep a firm grip even on slippery hillside ground, Pygmy Goats have hair between their hooves.
This breed of goat was developed in Great Britain and has distinct characteristics including large, pendulous ears and a “Roman” nose.
FUN FACT: Anglo-Nubian milk is high in butterfat and protein, which makes it perfect for making cheese.
Herdwick sheep are native to North West England and like to spend most of their time grazing the hillsides. They have thick wool to keep them warm during the winter, which people often use to make carpets of loft insulation. It is just too scratchy and coarse to make into a jumper!
FUN FACT: Herdwick lambs are born black. After a year or so they turn brown and then some turn grey.
Despite their common name, these animals are not pigs, nor do they come from Guinea. They are native to the Andes and while they no longer exist in the wild, they are closely related to several species that are commonly found in the grassy plains and plateaus of the region.
FUN FACT: New born guinea pigs are known as pups. They are born with their eyes open, have fur and can start running within 3 hours of birth.
KuneKune Pigs are small domestic pigs thought to originate from New Zealand. These pigs are very hairy, have a dumpy build and can have unusual tassels hanging from their bottom jaw. Lilly and Biscuit are our Kunekune pigs. They have a friendly, placid nature.
FUN FACT: Kunekune means “fat and round” in the Maori language.
Rabbits are one of the most popular pets to keep due to their affectionate nature and love of cuddles! To show they are happy, they often grind their teeth softly when being petted, similar to cats purring. Rabbits teeth never stop growing so it important they can gnaw on bark and other rougher objects to keep them short and smooth.
FUN FACTS: Rabbits can jump as high as 90cm and the World Record for the highest rabbit jump is 1metre!
Probably the most common domesticated bird, there are now estimated to be over 43 billion chickens around the world! That means there are more than 6 times more chickens than people! Chickens are popular birds to keep, not only for their meat and eggs, but also their funny behaviour and beautiful feathers. Chickens like to eat seeds and insects.
FUN FACT: The oldest chicken in the world lived till the age of 16 years old.
Lizards come in all shapes and sizes and there are believed to be over 3800 species of lizards throughout the world. Lizards are one of the oldest creatures to live on Earth, first walking the planet 200 million years ago! Lizards have scaly skin and are cold blooded reptiles.
Snakes are long, legless reptiles covered in overlapping scales. They are also distinctive for their lack of eyelids and external ears. There are over 2,900 species of snake around the world, most of which are non-venomous. Most that are venomous only use it to kill and subdue their prey.
Amphibians are cold-blooded animals, which means their body temperature changes to their surroundings. They change from young who survive in the water to adults that can breathe in the air. Frogs, Toads and Salamanders are such creatures.
Turtles and tortoises are both cold blooded reptiles with a hard shell covering their body. Their backbone, breastbone and ribs are a part of their shell, so they cannot remove it or replace it. The difference between the two is that turtle live in the water, while tortoises live on the land.
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. Out of the million or more animal species in the world, more than 98% are invertebrates! Many invertebrates have a fluid-filled skeleton, like a jelly fish or a worm. Others have a hard outer shell, like insects.
As their name suggests, Rhinoceros Iguanas resemble rhinoceroses in some respects. Males have a bony-plated horn on their snout and hard grey/green skin covering their body. They are herbivores, who like to eat plants and fruit in the forests that they thrive in.
FUN FACT: Rhinoceros Iguanas are very territorial and use their long tail as a whip to warn off intruders. They can also re-grow teeth that are lost after a fight.
The Asian Short Clawed Otters are the smallest species of otter in the world. They are quite flexible and streamlined which means that they can groom themselves easily as well as helping them move quickly once in the water. Asian Short Clawed Otters live in extended family groups with only the alpha pair breeding and the youngsters helping to raise the young. If you fancy learning more about our loveable otter family, why not come along to our Otter Presentation at 10.15am
Humboldt Penguins are a warm weather species that live off the coasts of Chile & Peru in South America. They are a medium build species, growing to approximately 65cm. They are very quick swimmers reaching up to 20mph in the water. Male and female Humboldt Penguins mate for life and take joint care of their offspring, taking it in turns to sit on the eggs for 40 days.
FUN FACT: Penguins have excellent eyesight both underwater and on land.
Penguin Presentations take place daily at 11.30am and 2.30pm where our keepers give fun, fact-filled talks.
We are commonly known as Reindeer, however our correct name is Caribou and our Latin name is Rangifer Tarandu.
We roam across North America, Arctic and Subartic that’s why we have such thick coats to stay warm and wide feet to help us walk on the snow!
Our noses are special as we can increase the surface area of the nostrils so that cold air is warmed before reaching our lungs!
When our antlers grow they are covered in a velvet like fur which is rubbed off on trees once the antlers have finished growing.
We have a gestation period of 7 months and our young are called calves.
Our calves grow up fast and are independent after 45 days, but they stay with the herd until fully grown.
We eat mostly lichen but also eat tree bark and some grasses.
We are known as ruminants which means we have 4 chambers in our stomach (the same as goats and cows!)
Our predators include Golden Eagles, Brown Bears and Polar Bears.
FUN FACT: Both sexes grow antlers but lose them at different times of the year. Males lose theirs over winter so all of Father Christmas’ reindeers are female!