Zoology: P-p-p pick up a penguin to see if it's p-p-p put on weight
I would love to weigh a penguin. I wouldn't mind assessing a stoat, either, or taking the inside leg measurements of a baby giraffe. A tarantula spider, however – well, not so much. At London Zoo this week, however, it isn't just the warm-eyed, cuddly creatures that will be given a once-over as part of the annual "weigh-in".
Some 16,000 creatures from 750 species will be coaxed from their slumbers and cajoled onto the scales and against measuring posts, like some giant animal version of a WeightWatchers meeting. The difference: it doesn't matter if the parakeets or meerkats have put on an ounce or two. In fact, it might possibly be a good thing, according to Adrian Walls, the head of the bird section at the Zoo.
"We weigh because it is a very good indication of an animal's long-term health and because each animal has a unique number with ZIMS (the international Zoological Information Management System)," he says. "We do this each year so we can spot trends or problems in an animal's long-term well-being. It's like updating a health passport."
Not only does this allow them to track the health of animals in the zoo in London but also the long term-health of that species. All very worthy and serious work – but I confess I would still just want to weigh a penguin for the Lolz. In fact, says Walls, the penguins are the least Lol-worthy when it comes to weighing.
"You try to coax them onto the scales and they just want to jump in the pool – you have to follow them in sometimes."
What I really want, he says, are the hornbills: "You give them one command and they weigh themselves." Takes the labour out of things, I'm sure, but where's the fun in that?
A high-rise home for 500,000 ants
Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Waste not, want not: Britain has become a nation of recyclers - but is it making a difference?
Lynx to be reintroduced into wild in Britain after a 1,300-year absence
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...