Dudley Zoo was the venue for some spooky goings-on this Hallowe’en, with many Sedgley residents paying the popular tourist attraction a visit and getting into the spirit.
Six-year-old Eliza Lewis, a pupil at Cotwall End Primary School, was among the many youngsters who took part in a series of activities organised by the zoo for half term Hallowe’en fun.
Among the new arrivals at Dudley Zoo were a witch’s favourite – three giant smooth-sided toads (Bufo guttatus) – which are among the largest in the world.
Presenter, Langan Turner, says: “Toads have a fascinating history; they were traditional companions for witches in the Middle Ages when their proud owners dressed them in silk ribbons and silver bells, and on a literary note there is Paddock the toad in Macbeth, and Trevor, the pet toad owned by Neville Longbottom, in the Harry Potter stories.”
He added: “This species is found in the rainforests of South America and able to reach a body length of 25cm, so they are very much bigger than the common toads in the UK and rather more handsome.”
The new arrivals have been named Porthos, Athos and Aramis.
Hallowe’en half-term events included themed talks and feeds, ending with a Hocus Pocus evening on Monday, October 31.
For adults, there’s still a chance to join the spooks of Dudley Castle with this year’s Carnival of Darkness, due to an extra date being added on Friday, November 4. The carnival is suitable for 16-years and over and will run from 8pm to midnight, with last admissions at 9pm.
Local residents wondering what to do with all those specially carved pumpkins might also be interested to learn that these make ideal treats for the zoo’s lemurs, which have been enjoying Hallowe’en treats, thanks to kind supporters who donated pumpkins aplenty.
CEO, Peter Suddock, says: “Lots of people who attended Hallowe’en events throughout half term brought in pumpkins as enrichment for the animals, and most sections from small primates to pandas have been enjoying the gifts.”
Across the site keepers have been filling the hollowed-out vegetables with fruit and treats for the animals to seek out and encouraging them to use the decorative skin as a toy.