By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Zoo News: New animals come to the Raptor Center
Thursday was Groundhog Day, but it was also National Hedgehog Day. There are 17 different species of hedgehogs in the world, living in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe. The Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo’s resident hedgehog, shown here, is Michael. Visit the zoo at 1:30 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 4, for a special keeper chat to learn more about him.
zoo logo

A pot-bellied piglet named Ruby has joined the menagerie at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo.

Zoo Supervisor & Curator Ashley Burdick said pigs are incredibly smart and are said to have the intelligence of a 3-year old human child. A video of Ruby on the zoo’s Facebook page shows her playing with a toy.

“Our hope is when she’s larger she will be a companion for Pearl, our other pig, because they are social creatures,” Burdick said. “Until then, you can view Ruby in the Raptor Center Sundays through Thursdays.” Look in the vet clinic window. 

“We do want to take a moment to say that while she is only 8 pounds, tiny and adorable now, ‘mini’ or ‘teacup’ pigs don’t stay this small forever. While they can stay around 50 pounds, they are also capable of weighing up to 300 pounds! Our other pig, Pearl, who is an adult, is 125 pounds. They can also be quite destructive and are not an ideal pet for most people.”

Since that report at the end of January, Ruby is up to 10 pounds, Burdick said. “She’s been working on her harness training and is doing well.”

Red-eyed crocodile skink

It may take a sharp eye to see another one of the newest additions in the zoo’s Raptor Center. A 6-month-old red-eyed crocodile skink named Vhagar is now on exhibit in the reptile/amphibian display.

Burdick explained that these lizards are found in the rainforests of New Guinea. They get their name from the red rings around their eyes. “He is excellent at camouflage and still pretty small, so he may be tricky to spot.”

Foxface rabbitfish

The zoo has also added a foxface rabbitfish to the large saltwater aquarium.

“That tank has eight fish currently and some small corals, crabs and snails,” Burdick said. “People often ask why there are not more fish and things in the tank. Saltwater has very specific parameters and responsibly sourced fish can be hard to come by. Many species of saltwater fish do not breed readily in captivity and the only way to obtain them is from wild-caught operations. We do our best to find fish and corals that are either captive-bred or aqua-cultured to leave the wild populations intact.” 

On losing Winnie

The staff at the zoo are saddened by the death of grizzly bear Winnie on Jan. 16.

“This has definitely been an especially difficult loss because it happened quickly and unexpectedly,” Burdick said. “We are still awaiting results from the samples we sent off to K-State to see if we can get any more information about how or why his stomach twisted. In dogs, this is often the result of eating quickly, too much food or a lot of activity after eating. But, these guys have been mostly sleeping for the last couple months and only eating very small amounts. He also didn’t exhibit any of the other typical symptoms you’d see like distended abdomen, restlessness, drooling, panting, attempting to vomit, etc.”