Here at Tilgate Nature Centre, we have an array of animals from all over the world!
Our Americas Zone features a range of species from North and South America. Alf, our Brazilian tapir, can be found in a mixed exhibit with capybara and some very inquisitive alpacas. Next door, you can meet our trio of greater rhea, our burrowing owl and red-footed tortoises, as well as Brazilian cavies – the ancestors of guinea pigs! Large aviaries house a variety of parrots such as macaws alongside a variety of duck species and waterfowl. Our reptile house hosts several snakes, including Jamaican boa, as well as 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? Joining them in our mixed exhibit are our yellow mongooses and leopard tortoises, who share their natural habitat in Southern Africa. Next door Malika, our hornbill, calls from her aviary, while the mischievous dwarf mongooses scamper around their enclosure. Inside the adjoining discovery room, you can get up close and personal with pancake tortoises, African clawed frogs, beautiful Malawi cichlid fish and a variety of invertebrates as well as experiencing Africa at night in our nocturnal zone [the Discovery Room is currently closed but will reopen soon!]. Beyond this, see if you can spot our gorgeous and graceful serval Yaro lounging in his indoor house or sunning himself on the porch around it.
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 egrets and greater vasa parrots, as well as a range of endemic ducks species. Geckos, chameleons and fish such as damba complete your tour of this long-isolated island ecosystem, joined by our hyrax and gundi, who can also currently be found in the Madagascan aviary house.
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 elegant barn owl Fezzziwig, beautiful tawny owl Willow and bold and fearless Scrooge our Bengal Eagle Owl. They are kept far away from our large group of harvest mice and spiny mice – the owls’ ideal prey! Next to the Mouse House is an aviary hosting avocets, curlews and a range of duck species. Some egrets are currently also found here, whilst construction work goes on arounds the corner.
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. The galahs, eclectus parrots and lorikeets call to each other around their aviary and our stately Northern bald ibis have also recently moved in here. When the din isn’t adorable parma wallabies can be seen scampering and hopping around on the floor. That loud, raucous, laughing noise that you’ve heard from across the Nature Centre comes from the kookaburras, who have now moved into some aviaries near the Europe zone.
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 is led by the large male Kuzco, who guards his females, Coco and Moss, and their babies or ‘crias’, 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 noisiest animals at the Nature Centre, our Asian short-clawed otter family. The otters are very playful, calling to each other and playing with pebbles together. You can also find an aviary where you can spot a range of beautiful sparrows, finches and small birds.