Special Easter egg hunt for Folly Farm zoo keepers

Western Telegraph: Penguins Harry and Holly with their own special Easter egg. Penguins Harry and Holly with their own special Easter egg.

This Easter the zoo keepers at a Pembrokeshire zoo will be embarking on a very special egg hunt in a bid to find out whether their penguins pairs have successfully produced any potential offspring.

The pack of 24 Humboldt penguins, which arrived at Folly Farm in April last year, have spent the last weeks seeking out their desired penguin mate and hunting down a suitable nest in which to make a home.

Most of the penguins have successfully coupled off and have disappeared into their nesting boxes to mate.

Catrin Thomas, Penguin Keeper at Folly Farm said: “We are really excited that some of our penguins have finally found love at Folly Farm.

“It has been a constant guessing game as to which penguins were going to couple off and we are thrilled to announce that Harry and Holly and Donna and Diavlo were amongst the first pairs to have produced an egg, which is really exciting.”

The penguin keepers will be embarking on a real Easter egg hunt this weekend to see if they can hunt down any more eggs lurking in the nesting boxes. If successful, incubation takes around 40-42 days so they could expect their first Penguin chicks to arrive late May/early June.

Catrin added “When first hatched we will need to be extremely hands-on with the chicks to make sure the new parents and their offspring get off to the best possible start.

“As some of the penguins will be first time parents the penguins will need help in rearing their young so we will be on hand to give them some parenting tips and assist by hand feeding the chicks during the first few months of their lives.” With penguins, it’s the male that firstly finds the home. Then once the male has settled in and made it nice and cosy, the females come in and decide which mate and home they prefer.

Both the male and the female take turns keeping the eggs warm until they hatch. It takes approximately 40-42 days for them to be born. The babies will be born fluffy and grey and will then have a two month moult period.

The babies will be enrolled in penguin school where they will learn how to eat and fend for themselves.

Penguin Coast opened at Folly Farm last Easter. The two acre state-of-the-art development currently houses 24 Humboldt Penguins and contains a penguin nursery, beach area, 100m3 saltwater pool and play area with specialised plants and rocks.

For more information, visit the website www.folly-farm.co.uk, like them on facebook www.facebook.com/FollyFarm and follow them on twitter @follyfarmwales

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