My Week: Lucy Hawley

One of the keepers at London Zoo reveals how the small furry animals in her care reacted to the snow that gripped the country this week


Monday


I get up at 6.30am and make the commute from Welwyn Garden City into London where I work in the Rainforest exhibit of London Zoo.

I'm at work by 7.45am and meet my section to go through any incidents that happened at the weekend. Our section is mainly small mammals that are part of the Rainforest exhibit, so marmosets, tamarins, monkeys, otters and a couple of odd ones like cockroaches, stick insects, iguanas and piranhas. A little baby marmoset monkey is born in the zoo today, which is very exciting. The real fun comes in the afternoon when we get to feed the animals. It's a very standard day in the life of a keeper today. After work I go across the road to the pub with some of the other keepers.

Tuesday

Today we have our inventory day where we do a stock-take of all the animals in the zoo. I go into the meerkat enclosure with my clipboard, a set of scales and the electronic chip reader. Most of the animals are trained to sit on a target, which is a circle at the end of a wooden stick so they'll sit still on the scales. I love the meerkats; they seem to be everybody's favourite. The public is always surprised at how small they are but I suppose there's no frame of reference when you see them on documentaries. Then I weigh and count all the monkeys. It's a headache doing the stick insects and cockroaches. Then I target train our slender lorises and the yellow mongooses. When I get home it starts to snow. I turn into a big kid when it snows so I run about outside before I get dragged off to go and see Avatar, which is actually brilliant.

Wednesday

It's my day off today and I wake up to six or seven inches of snow so I go out for a play. I take some pictures and go sledging. Everything turns so pretty in the snow; it's like a wipe-clean surface. I love seeing strangers having snowball fights – the snow seems to bring people together. It's very nice.

Thursday

My train breaks down on the way to work today because of the weather so I'm late. Lots of my colleagues are too. The zoo has to be closed to the public as there's too much snow but the animals in our section love it. The adult meerkats stay under the heat lamps but the baby meerkats run all over the snow chasing each other. We give them hot chunks of carrot which they cuddle to keep warm. The giraffes have to be kept locked in as the paddock is too icy but most of our animals are third- or fourth-generation British so they have adapted. Our meerkats have much thicker coats than those found in the wild so they're happy enough.

Friday

There are a lot of animals to service this morning as some of our staff either can't get in or have fallen over on ice and injured themselves. I love watching my animals running around in the snow. It seems the animals are adapting to the weather better than humans.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam