An annual “large scale” operation to weigh the 10,000 individual residents of a zoo has begun.
Keepers at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire often bribe the animals with their favourite treats to encourage them on to the scales.
The information is used to track the health and wellbeing of the animals, as well as identify any pregnancies.
Head of zoological operations, Matthew Webb, said it ensured vital statistics were accurate and up-to-date.
“From luring 2,000kg (4,409 lbs) rhinos onto scales in exchange for their favourite veggies, to encouraging our ring-tailed lemurs to bounce onto the scales for a juicy, sweet pepper,” he said.
A range of equipment is used to record the weight of all creatures – great and small.
An industrial-sized scale will be used for Behan, a 26-year-old female greater one-horned rhinoceros, while “extra-sensitive equipment” will be used to accurately weight smaller inhabitants, such as butterflies and spiders.
The animals’ weights and measurements are recorded in a database called Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), which helps zookeepers around the world compare important information on thousands of endangered species.