Prickly test for keepers

Red panda Yasmin, is getting ready for Christmas by decorating her nesting box with festive foliage.

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The new mum is busy gathering fallen leaves in the paddock to help insulate the three nesting boxes during the colder months.

But she has also taken to adding sprigs of sharp holly, which she is removing from the holly tree in their enclosure – surprising keepers when they reach in to carry out the cleaning duties.

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Trainee keeper Shaun Crompton – pictred above – said: “Obviously the holly is not hurting our red panda family, otherwise she wouldn’t be doing it, but it is a bit of a painful shock for us when we put our hands in to clean out the boxes.”

BANANAS FOR BRIBERY

A little bribery comes in handy when it’s time to give our three red pandas their worming medication.

Keepers use adult Yasmin and Yang’s favourite treats – a piece of pear or banana – to get them to take their medicine which comes in a paste form.

Senior keeper, Laura Robbins, said: “Thankfully it is quite easy to feed the paste to the adults as we can hand feed it to them direct.

“Baby Jasper, on the other hand, won’t let us get anywhere near him at the moment, so we are hoping when he sees mum and dad take it from us, he’ll be confident enough to follow them.”

Like domestic pets, red pandas are given the treatment regularly every three months, although they have to take it for three consecutive days.