Here at Tilgate Nature Centre, we have an array of animals from all over the world!
Our brand new Americas Zone features a range of species from North and South America. Alf, our Brazilian tapir, can be found in a mixed exhibit with capybaras and Bob and Naz, a pair of inquisitive alpacas. Next door, you can meet Diego, our coati, as well as our greater rhea, burrowing owls and red-footed tortoises. Large aviaries house a variety of parrots such as green-winged and military macaws, pearly and sun conures and red-lored Amazons, alongside scarlet ibis, mourning doves and various duck species. Our reptile house hosts several snakes, including Jamaican boa, as well as anole lizards, spiders, fish and dart frogs.
Our Africa Zone is the home of our lively meerkat mob; they’re always busy digging, foraging or sunbathing! How many can you count? Opposite the meerkats, see if you can spot our gorgeous and graceful serval Kofi amongst the long grass as he hunts. Jack and Malika, our pair of hornbills, call nearby from their aviary which they share with rollers, plovers and starlings, while yellow and dwarf mongooses can be seen running about their enclosures. Inside the adjoining discovery zone, you can get up close and personal with pancake tortoises, African clawed frogs, beautiful Malawi cichlid fish and a variety of invertebrates.
Our Madagascar Zone gives a hint of the unusual wildlife of the island of Madagascar. Boas and radiated tortoises will greet you as you approach our lemur enclosure, where the notoriously cheeky Rambony and Sadika can be found either eating or sunbathing. Our aviary houses hamerkop, egrets and greater vasa parrots, as well as a range of endemic ducks including Madagascar and hottentot teal and white-faced whistling ducks. Madagascar hissing cockroaches, golden mantilla frogs, geckos and fish such as damba complete your tour of this long-isolated island ecosystem.
Our Europe Zone is home to a variety of species from our own continent. Largest of these are our reindeer, who are most commonly found grazing in their paddock. Our family of raccoon dogs are often smelt before they’re seen (they’re very pongy creatures) but at meal times these bundles of fur are hard to miss. We also have a considerable array of owls in this zone, including the gorgeous snowy owls, elegant barn owls and adorable little owls. They are kept far away from our large group of harvest mice – the owls’ ideal prey! Next to the Mouse House is an aviary hosting avocets, curlews, bearded reedlings and a range of duck species from European wetlands and waterways. Last of all is Terry, our famous talking raven, who is something of a YouTube sensation! See if you can get him to talk to you when you visit; he says ‘hello Terry,’ and ‘come on!’ If he talks, then you know he likes you! Beyond Europe is a large aviary showcasing ibis alongside other bird species.
Some bonza wildlife from Down Under awaits you in the Australasia Zone. Bennet’s wallabies bound around their paddock and under your feet in our walkthrough exhibit, while the prehistoric-looking emu stalks through the outback forest nearby. That loud, raucous, laughing noise that you’ve heard from across the Nature Centre comes from the kookaburras, aided in their racket-making by the lorikeets, eclectus parrots and galahs. When the din isn’t quite so loud, tiny long-nosed potoroos and adorable parma wallabies can be seen scampering and hopping around on the floor.
Our Domestic Zone is where you can meet some of mankind’s closest companions. From the friendly donkeys, Jimmy and Nipper, and their mischievous Shetland pony companions, to the pygmy goats and squealing pigs, there’s always some friendly faces coming up to the fence to say hello. Our alpaca herd has swelled in number recently, as we’ve welcomed several babies, or ‘cria’, and if that isn’t enough cuteness for you, our guinea pigs and rabbits are happy to pick up the slack!
Our Asia Zone has some of the most beloved animals in the Centre; Buddy the yellow-backed chattering lory and our Asian short-clawed otter family. The otters are very playful, calling to each other and playing with pebbles together. Buddy can talk and has learned a whole host of phrases, which never fail to put a smile on everyone’s face. She loves being the centre of attention, so make sure to have a chat with her during your visit. If you’re lucky, as you regretfully move on you’ll hear a ‘bub-bye’ come your way! Completing our Asia Zone are aviaries where you can spot a range of beautiful pheasants, sparrows, finches and small birds.