Monitoring activities of nocturnal animals
At the Zoo, many of our animals are nocturnal, or active at night. How do animal care professionals care for species that are active when the keepers aren’t around? The first thing we do is watch them. We set up nest cams so we can identify activities and behaviors the animals might be doing. We create an activity budget of that animal’s activities. This can help us plan to engage the animals in our care with enrichment to stimulate more of those natural behaviors to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. For some animals like the sloth, we can spread enrichment feeders around to encourage movement and foraging in various locations within the space. For other animals like the chinchillas, we can observe how much of their space is utilized and how the individuals interact with each other. We have even observed some of the animals drinking or yawning, like the ball python.
By observing animals in outdoor habitats with the nest technology, we have been able to identify other animals that share the Zoo overnight too. Some of the smaller ones like the spiders and bees are there most of the time. Other wildlife passes through en route to a foraging location. What kind of wildlife do you have in your backyard that is active while your sleep?
Lead Keeper, Ambassador Animals