WORD FROM THE WILD: The Latest News From The Park

Written by Lorah, Education and Activities Officer at Cotswold Wildlife Park

January 2023

As we spring into a new year, we have an update on one of our fantastic amphibians.

Last year our Mexican Leaf Frogs laid spawn for the first time, and most of the tadpoles have now fully developed into froglets. Following their transition, these delicate juveniles are being cared for in a separate enclosure to the adults – giving them more space to explore as they continue to mature.

Mexican Tree Frog
Mexican Tree Frog

The tadpoles and froglets, whilst still very young, do not rely on their parents for survival. Mexican Leaf Frogs lay their spawn in leaves and twigs hanging above water – where any hatching tadpoles then drop into the water below to feed and continue their development independently. By laying the soft eggs out of the water, it reduces the chance of the spawn being destroyed (or eaten!) in the wild before the tadpoles have had chance to hatch.

Mexican Leaf Frog spawn

You may still be able to see some of the not-so-tiny tadpoles, along with the adult Mexican Leaf Frogs, in the Amphibian Room at the bottom of the Walled Garden. See if you can spot any that have sprouted their back legs!

January is an especially exciting month this year as Queenie, our youngest Rhino calf, celebrates her first birthday! Mammal Keeper Liam made Queenie her first birthday cake, using soaked Rhino pellets and hay (some of her favourite foods) and she immediately came over to investigate her special treat.

Queenie birthday cake and Liam

Queenie looking at her birthday cake with Liam

Queenie is the ninth calf born to our ‘crash’ of Southern White Rhinos as part of the Park’s successful breeding programme. She was named in January 2022 by the Park’s Managing Director Reggie Heyworth in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee, though her name has since become more poignant and a lasting tribute to our late Queen.

Prince William is Royal Patron of the UK based conservation charity Tusk Trust, which Cotswold Wildlife Park works closely with to protect Africa’s many threatened species, including Southern White Rhinos. For more information about Tusk Trust or to donate, please visit the conservation page on our website or www.tusk.org.

Queenie in January 2022

On your next visit, be sure to go and see Queenie to wish her a very happy first birthday! The Rhino house is located on the corner by the restaurant, opposite the White Stork enclosure.

In other birthday news, our oldest Giraffe, Century, celebrates his seventeenth birthday this month. Century has enjoyed a few important milestones in his life so far – being the 100th Giraffe born at Longleat Safari Park in 2006, he then joined Cotswold Wildlife Park in 2010 on the Park’s 40th anniversary.

He has grown and matured considerably in the time he has spent with us, but he has certainly made a reputation for himself as the greediest Giraffe in the group! Mammal Keeper Willemijn made a special treat to mark the occasion and Century seemed extremely pleased with his unique cake, however, youngsters Melvin and Tisa thought it looked far too appetising and wanted to make sure they got some too, so he kindly ended up sharing it with them. (Century pictured on the left)

Birthday Century coming in to inspect his cake Birthday cake sharing

Keeper Willemijn said: “Working with Giraffes is already an amazing job but being able to work with Century is particularly rewarding. He is such a calm animal, which is great for teaching new Keepers how to work with Giraffes, especially with how to train them. So, a special Giraffe deserves a special birthday cake! The work experience student, Alex, and I made the cake from soaked browser nuts with a sprinkle of Dengie (straws and grasses) and chopped carrots to top it off. All Century’s favourite foods!”

You can find Century and the Giraffe house at the far side of the Park, next to the Lion enclosure.


Just a reminder that the Park will be CLOSED Monday to Friday from 9th January until 9th February 2023 and will re-open on weekdays on Friday 10th February; This is to allow for essential maintenance to be carried out.

The Park will still be OPEN at WEEKENDS during this time from 10.00 am until 4:00 pm or dusk (whichever is earlier, with last admission to the Park being at 3:00 pm) – Thank you.

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens