Pärnu Minizoo animals turn shy during quarantine

Rattlesnake at Pärnu Minizoo.
Rattlesnake at Pärnu Minizoo. Source: ERR

Animal residents of Pärnu Minizoo became so alienated from human contact during the quarantine and emergency sitation that they would shy away from even the zookeeper. Since then, however, they have slowly begun to readjust to visitors.

Without a doubt, the largest residents of Pärnu's Minizoo are caimans. They are currently just a meter and a half long, but will grow to a full three meters in length. Most of the time they can be found either basking in the warmth of heat lamps or just hanging out in the water. They get lively at feeding time, however; suddenly they can move at lightning speed, reported ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera."

"Things were nice and calm for the animals; no one came to bother them or knock," Minizoo owner Peeter Põldsam said about the coronavirus-induced emergency situation. "You could see later, once the quarantine ended and we could reopoen, how many of them were even surprised by people. Rattlesnakes began rattling with their tails when people came. Typical visitors generally don't even see this."

Põldsam said that people are slowly starting to return, but as is the case everywhere, visitor numbers won't bounce back immediately.

"Compared with last spring, then now that the doors are open, visitor numbers are significantly lower," he said.

Among other residents of the minizoo are red-eared sliders, also known as red-eared terrapins. The local climate is very suitable to these North American natives, and they are able to survive local winters. Sliders have already been found along several rivers in Estonia, due to which their sale in pet stores is now banned.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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