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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

SharePoint Administrator/Developer (C#, VB.NET, VISUAL STUDIO 2

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SharePoi...

European HR Director, London

£80000 - £95000 per annum: Charter Selection: A leading Global organisation Ja...

Day In a Page

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players