Adelaide Zoo is gearing up to welcome the Year of the Dragon, with dragon species across the zoo enjoying themed enrichment today.
The Dragon is the fifth animal in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac signs, strong and powerful, endlessly energetic and full of vitality.
The zoo is home to five species of real life dragons (the non-fire breathing type!). Today the Southern Angle-headed Dragons were treated to tasty cockroaches while the Central Netted Dragon enjoyed some crickets. The biggest dragon, Cecilia the Komodo Dragon, was presented with decorated enrichment.
Despite being the largest dragon at the zoo, Cecilia eats two kilograms of food per month.
As with all the animals in our care, Cecilia’s diet is planned by our expert animal nutritionist and it’s due to her slow metabolism that she eats about two kilograms of food each month.
Keeper Kasey Fenwick said she loves the unique personalities of the dragons she cares for.
“I love that the dragon species I work with are all different. Some eat meat, some eat vegetables and they all have big, fiery personalities, just like the dragons they are named after,” said Kasey.
The lunar-decorated enrichment created by Adelaide Zoo’s wonderful Behaviour and Environmental Enrichment of Zoo Animals (BEEZA) team provides positive mental stimulation for the animals.
“Although you might not see lizards react to enrichment, like a lion tearing into an enrichment box, it’s still an important way we change their surroundings to support cognitive stimulation,” said Kasey.
Adelaide Zoo will mark the Lunar New Year with special dragon keeper talks.
Over the next two weekends keepers will be presenting educational talks on three dragon species – Komodo Dragon, Boyd’s Forest Dragon and Southern Angle-headed Dragon. Keepers will share an insight into working with the lizards and explain the threats each species is facing in the wild.