Slaughter by torchlight (but not in the blackout) …

It’s a shame I didn’t have a little more time to go slug hunting before our dawn opening at the zoo in the dark by torchlight (arriving at 4.30 a.m.), as we had to be reday to welcome vistors at 5 a.m. for our Wild Breakfast at Newquay Zoo, a twice yearly summer event (booked and sold out as ever long in advance).

 Slugs have been in to destroy more of our seedling plants for the zoo keeper’s wartime garden. Picking them off by torchlight I’m told is one organic method (we can’t use slug pellets easily here with so many animals around). Gone are the Pak Choi, most Iceberg lettuce and some of my lovingly tended Dwarf French Bean and Runner Bean seedlings. Gone too arer two of the culprit slugs …

All the gardeners I’ve spoken to have said what a poor summer it has proved for planting with such wet warm weather, perfect for slugs and snails.  The welcome overnight rain (and less welcome daytime rain for our zoo visitors) might mean less need for watering but it comes at a cost.

I wonder if long quiet nights on fire-watching duty during the war (when there wasn’t an air  raid on) were a good time for wartime keeper gardeners to go and pick off those national wartime enemies, slugs. By torchlight, carefully in the blackout (put that light out!”…

Luckily we still have free-ranging three legged and rescued hedgehogs around the grounds from our time with a wildlife hospital on site. Hedgehogs are natural pest control, along with our ducks!

Find out more about our pest control problems and adventures following our World War Zoo Wartime zoo keeper’s garden project. 

World War Zoo

World War Zoo is about looking back and looking forward, learning from the past to prepare for our future. The project developed from a chance discovery that zoos were closed in the early weeks of World War Two, and even though they were re-opened and supported as a way to boost moral, they struggled throughout. This was a time when food was short, and animals didn’t get ration books. Staffing was low with keepers being called up to fight, and repairs were difficult.


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