Nothing brings the feels quite like interspecies animal friends.
Colchester Zoo holds 220 species within its 60 acres of parkland and lakes. But the English zoo closed in March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Since then, its chimpanzees have missed human visitors.
Zookeepers released Gomez, a hairy armadillo, into the zoo to provide the apes with some company — which got some hilarious and curious reactions from the chimps.
“Gomez enjoyed somewhere new to explore and our chimps enjoyed the chance to see something different!” the video caption read. “A great form of enrichment for both species!”
The clip shows the stout armadillo racing around the visitor’s area of the zoo. A crew of curious chimpanzees watched from their habitat on the other side of the enclosure. As Gomez explores the room, they follow him with their gaze, appearing positively riveted by the new company.
Although the chimps and armadillo didn’t appear to meet face to face, it sure looked like the animals enjoyed the burst of excitement. Facebook users certainly did, viewing the video over 184,000 times.
Many regular zoo patrons said they had never seen Gomez before and wanted to know where zookeepers hid him.
“Love armadillos. In all my hundreds of visits to the zoo, I have never seen this gorgeous little chap before. Whereabouts in the zoo is he normally based when not saying hi to the chimps?” one person asked.
“You have an armadillo? We went to the zoo weekly, how did I miss an armadillo?!” another said.
It turns out, the special armadillo lives out of the public eye but zookeepers bring him out for selected talks. Colchester Zoo is known for its conservation bent and modern enclosures created with each species’ needs in mind.
While the zoo is temporarily closed, it is soliciting donations to maintain operations that protect and care for its animals and their habitats.
If you enjoyed this story, you might also like reading about these zoo cameras that let you hang out with animals from home.
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