Students get set to meet Bruce, Wendy, Wonda and friends as new species wing their way into Hartpury’s magical menagerie!


From emus looking for love to coy crustaceans and even a dragon, Hartpury has experienced another animal explosion!

With more than 70 different species living on campus, there’s already an extensive range of native and non-native animals that Hartpury College and University Centre students can work with to gain practical hands on experience.

And now the animal collection has grown again with some fascinating new arrivals for new and current students to learn from in September.

‘Bruce’, the Chinese Water Dragon, looks set to make quite a stir among the reptile collection. Although currently measuring just over seven inches, he could reach up to three feet in length and live up to 15 years!

And there could be love in the air in the emu enclosure. Wendy and Wonda, the new female emus, have been brought to Hartpury to light up the life of our male emu, Buddy. After losing his beloved partner, Buddy was finding single life rather dull. After months of searching, a week of preparation by Hartpury staff and a 350-mile journey, Wendy and Wonda arrived and are settling well into their new home.

Hartpury also now has a new purpose-built habitat to house new Poison Dart Frogs and there are plans to further expand the poison frog population. Despite their name, these frogs are not poisonous in captivity – it is thought the frogs gain their poison from insects they consume in the wild.

Two Hermit crabs now also call Hartpury their home after joining the invertebrate collection. Reaching up to 10cm, they are the world’s largest terrestrial invertebrates! Among the fascinating facts the students will learn about these creatures is that the shell is not their own; it belonged to another creature. In fact, as they grow, they have to upgrade their homes as their size increases, meaning they form a queue of ‘house hunters’ in size order.

Hartpury’s animal collection manager, Aleks Lipinska, said: “We are so excited to add these animals to our collection at Hartpury. It’s really important that we offer a wide variety of animals for our students to gain practical and handling experience, but also to experience first-hand the best way to care for them; from husbandry to diet, enrichment and exercise.

“Since opening our walled garden in 2013, Hartpury’s animal collection has gone from strength to strength and we look forward to welcoming more creatures in the future!”

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