15/12/2017 in Highland Wildlife Park
A thick blanket of snow has fallen at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park.
Many of the cold weather adapted animals that call the Park home enjoy the snow and the change to their environment it provides and keepers have been busy making Christmas themed enrichment in the run up to the festive season.
The muskox and the Amur tigers in particular enjoyed exploring and ripping into wrapped presents, giant snowballs and Christmas trees to get at some of their favourite treats.
Douglas Richardson, Head of Living Collections at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said: “The tigers definitely give the impression of being just large domestic cats in how they interact with the keeper provided distractions. Whereas the muskox are as interested in their “toys” but they are definitely trying to pummel their presents into the ground.”
Muskox are well adapted to the Arctic environment and are one of the few large mammals able to survive year-round in severe Arctic conditions. Their thick dense coat provides them with great insulation against the cold and their rounded hooves help them while moving through snow. They eat a varied diet of plants with flowers and grasses in the summertime and mosses in the winter, and graze in herds of around ten to 20 animals, however sometimes the herd can reach as many as 100 individual animals.
Muskox are very aggressive when threatened and despite being large and generally slow moving, males can charge short distances at speeds of up to 25 mph. Due to this they must be kept in specialised enclosures strong enough to withstand such force.