The serval /ˈsɜːrvəl/ (Leptailurus serval), also known as the tierboskat, is a wild cat found in Africa. The sole member of the genus Leptailurus, it was first described by German naturalist Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in 1776. Eighteen subspecies are recognised. The serval is a slender, medium-sized cat that stands 54–62 centimetres (21–24 in) at the shoulder and weighs 8–18 kilograms (18–40 lb). It is characterised by a small head, large ears, a golden-yellow to buff coat spotted and striped with black, and a short, black-tipped tail. The serval has the longest legs of any cat relative to its body size. [credits: Wikipedia]
The ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) is a large strepsirrhine primate and the most recognized lemur due to its long, black and white ringed tail. It belongs to Lemuridae, one of five lemur families, and is the only member of the Lemur genus. Like all lemurs it is endemic to the island of Madagascar. Known locally in Malagasy as maky ([makʲ] ( listen), spelled maki in French) or hira, it inhabits gallery forests to spiny scrub in the southern regions of the island. It is omnivorous and the most terrestrial of extant lemurs. The animal is diurnal, being active exclusively in daylight hours. [credits: Wikipedia]
he meerkat is a small carnivoran belonging to the mongoose family (Herpestidae). It is the only member of the genus Suricata. Meerkats live in all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, in much of the Namib Desert in Namibia and southwestern Angola, and in South Africa. A group of meerkats is called a “mob”, “gang” or “clan”. A meerkat clan often contains about 20 meerkats, but some super-families have 50 or more members. In captivity, meerkats have an average life span of 12–14 years, and about half this in the wild. [credits: Wikipedia]
The body of the binturong is long and heavy, with short, stout legs. It has a thick fur of strong black hair. The bushy and prehensile tail is thick at the root, gradually diminishing in size to the extremity, where it curls inwards. The muzzle is short and pointed, somewhat turned up at the nose, and is covered with bristly hairs, brown at the points, which lengthen as they diverge, and form a peculiar radiated circle round the face.
The eyes are large, black and prominent. The ears are short, rounded, edged with white, and terminated by tufts of black hair. There are six short rounded incisors in each jaw, two canines, which are long and sharp, and six molars on each side. The hair on the legs is short and of a yellowish tinge. The feet are five-toed, with large strong claws; the soles are bare, and applied to the ground throughout the whole of their length; the hind ones are longer than the fore. [credits: Wikipedia]
Burmese pythons are dark-colored snakes with many brown blotches bordered in black down the back. The perceived attractiveness of their skin pattern contributes to their popularity with both reptile keepers and the leather industry. The pattern is similar in colour, but different in actual pattern from the African rock python (Python sebae), sometimes resulting in confusion of the two species outside of their natural habitats. The African rock python can generally be distinguished by its tighter pattern of markings, compared to the Burmese python, which has bolder patterns, similar to those seen on a giraffe.
In the wild, Burmese pythons grow to 3.7 m (12 ft 2 in) on average, while specimens of more than 4 m (13 ft 1 in) are uncommon. This species is sexually dimorphic in size; females average only slightly longer, but are considerably heavier and bulkier than the males. [credits: Wikipedia]
The common brushtail possum has large and pointed ears. It has a bushy tail (hence its name) that is adapted to grasping branches, prehensile at the end with a hairless ventral patch. Its forefeet have sharp claws and the first toe of each hind foot is clawless but has a strong grasp. The possum grooms itself with the third and fourth toes which are fused together. It has a thick and woolly pelage that varies in colour depending on the subspecies. Colour patterns tend to be silver-gray, brown, black, red or cream. The ventral areas are typically lighter and the tail is usually brown or black. The muzzle is marked with dark patches.
The common brushtail possum has a head and body length of 32–58 cm with a tail length of 24–40 cm. It weighs 1.2-4.5 kg. Males are generally larger than females. In addition, the coat of the male tends to be reddish at the shoulders. As with most marsupials, the female brushtail possum has a forward-opening, well-developed pouch. The chest of both sexes has a scent gland that emits a reddish secretion which stains that fur around it. It marks its territory with these secretions. [credits: Wikipedia]
The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the largest of the true foxes and the most abundant wild member of the Carnivora, being present across the entire Northern Hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to North Africa, North America and Eurasia. It is listed as least concern by the IUCN.
Its range has increased alongside human expansion, having been introduced to Australia, where it is considered harmful to native mammals and bird populations. Due to its presence in Australia, it is included among the list of the “world’s 100 worst invasive species”. [credits: Wikipedia]
The great horned owl is generally colored for camouflage. The underparts of the species are usually light with some brown horizontal barring; the upper parts and upper wings are generally a mottled brown usually bearing heavy, complex darker markings. All subspecies are darkly barred to some extent along the sides as well. There is a variable sized white patch on the throat.
The white throat may continue as a streak running down the middle of the breast even when the birds are not displaying, which in particularly pale individuals can widen at the belly into a large white area. South American horned owls typically have a smaller white throat patch, often unseen unless actively displaying, and rarely display the white area on the chest. [credits: Wikipedia]
most common location: North Africa and Middle East
CONSERVATION STATUS: Least Concern
The desert hedgehog is one of the smallest of hedgehogs. It is 5.5 to 11 inches (140 to 280 mm) long and weighs about 10 to 18 ounces (280 to 510 g). The spines (or quills to give their correct name) on its back can be banded with coloring similar to the four-toed hedgehog. It is usually identified by its dark muzzle. If desert hedgehogs are threatened, their muscles go tight and pull the outer layer of skin around the body, making their quills stick out in all directions. The quills tend to be longer than other hedgehogs for better protection against predation. As such it is extremely difficult to catch one.. [credits: Wikipedia]
During your day at Hoo Farm you will be accompanied around the farm by an experienced member of our staff who will make sure you get the most out of your Hoo Farm visit. They will endeavour to make sure your tour is both informative and fun.
As well as being guided around the farm, you will have a chance to help with the cleaning of the small animals, meet Oscar our European Eagle Owl, Bear the Raccoon and our hand reared Meerkats. We will also get you fully involved in any demonstrations that may be happening during your day. The price includes an extra adult admission to Hoo Farm as well as lunch.
An example itinerary would be:
10am – arrival
10.15am – 10.45am – Meet the Reptiles including a 12ft Reticulated Python
10.45am – 11.00am – Meet the Hedgehogs
11.00am – 11.20am – Help Feed Victor the Giant Tortoise
11.30am – 11.40am – Help with Deer Feeding
11.40am – 12pm – Meet Zeus or Duma the Servals
12pm – 12.30pm – Lunch (included)
12.30pm – 1.30pm – Meet and Feed the Meerkats
1.30pm – 2.00pm – Meet the Lemurs
2.00pm – 2.20pm – Feed the Foxes
2.20pm – 2.30pm – Meet the Raccoon
2.30pm – 2.50pm – Meet the Owls including Oscar the European Eagle Owl
2.50pm – 3.10pm – Meet our Binturong
3.10pm – 3.30pm – Meet the Skunks
3.30pm – End
Please be aware that as our animals welfare is of utmost importance and we are privileged to be able to get so close to these species – we will not force our animals to do anything against their nature and all interaction is done on their terms.
£300 for 2 people. Participants must be able bodies and 6 years or older.