Creature comforts just in time for Christmas!

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Everyone spruces up their home ready to welcome Christmas guests and now some of Hartpury’s animal residents have received the gift of a festive makeover!

The prairie dogs had worn out the fixtures and fittings in their old burrow, so all of the sand and furnishings, logs and pipes have been replaced to provide them with more comfort and fun ways to fill their time.

Despite their name, which stems from their warning call sounding similar to a dog bark, these creatures are actually a type of ground squirrel.

Alongside the outdoor renovations, the burrowing rodents have been also been given an extension to a new indoor area to protect them from the cold frosty nights and heavy rains of the English winter.

Hartpury’s Egyptian toads will also be jumping for joy after their enclosure had a revamp, including an upgrade to a more exciting and natural space for the toads, providing them with climbing material, deep digging areas, plants and even a river.

Native to Africa, but found in many other countries too, the species is highly adaptable and can thrive in a range of habitats. With the right care, they can live up to 15 years in captivity.

Aleksandra Lipinska, Hartpury’s Animal Collection Manager, said: “The prairie dogs love their new surroundings and are busy exploring the new areas. A massive thank you to lecturers Rich Smith and Aisling Carroll and their Access to Higher Education students for their hard work to complete the enclosure makeover.”

“The toads are highly inquisitive and lively and the new set up is so much more realistic for them. It will allow them to express a wider range of natural behaviours.”

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