Browse content similar to Episode 18. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
-Hello and welcome to Animal Park. I'm Kate Humble.
-And I'm Ben Fogle
and we've just come out of the great doors of Longleat House.
Longleat first opened to the public in 1949 -
one of the very first stately homes to do so -
and a quarter of a million visitors take the house tour every year.
We'll be bringing you stories from the house and the entire estate
and, of course, the safari park. Here's what's coming up today.
Mayhem has broken out in the aviary -
the spoonbills are at war and the casualties are mounting.
They're definitely not giving it any time at all
and if they keep hounding it like that, they'll kill it.
There's an army trying to eat Longleat's treasures.
We'll be reporting on the latest battle in the war on bugs.
Up at Wolf Wood, pups are on the way so the keepers have come up with
a high-tech solution to keep an eye on mum.
we're off to the park's aviary...
it's one of the largest of its kind in Europe
and is home to a wide variety of exotic birds
including Chilean flamingos,
sacred ibis and four species of duck.
Longleat's four spoonbills arrived here 18 months ago
and, since then, they've lived happily together
Suddenly two of them have declared war - relentlessly hounding
one of the other spoonbills to within an inch of its life.
Keeper Michelle Stevens has rounded up the bullied bird
and brought it inside the house.
Now she has called in safari park vet Duncan Williams to make sure it's OK.
-Got a few bashes round its face.
-Yeah. He has been...
-They have been bullying him, haven't they?
-..bullied by the others.
I'll have a listen to his chest.
Luckily the spoonbill has no serious injuries but he's been terrified
by his ordeal.
His heart's going so fast. So stressed out.
Duncan decides that the best thing is to keep him inside to recover.
Meanwhile back outside, the pair of bullies has found a new victim.
They've turned on the fourth spoonbill.
-Where's the other one?
-At the back.
Neither Duncan nor the keepers have ever seen this kind of behaviour before.
They're at a loss to know how to control the spoonbill pair's aggression.
I don't really know why cos it's only happened in the last day and a half
that these two, apparently this pair, has been picking on it.
They're definitely not giving it any time at all
and if they keep hounding it like that, they'll kill it.
There's nothing for it but to bring the other bullied spoonbill
into the safety of the house. Desperate for a solution,
the keepers call in the man who set up the aviary -
bird expert Mike Curzon.
Steady, steady, steady, steady, steady.
This is one we've caught so far.
Mike has worked with spoonbills for over 40 years.
How long do you think we should keep them in for?
Well, I'd keep them in now until the middle of the summer.
Spoonbills are monomorphic
which means that boys and girls look exactly the same.
DNA testing when these four arrived indicated that they were all male.
Nevertheless Mike thinks that he knows what the problem is.
Even though they are both boys,
it's possible that the two bullies have formed a pair bond which would explain their aggressive behaviour.
With no females around then two males will, um, take the part of a pair
and they'll behave as a pair
and be aggressive.
Mike thinks the size of the spoonbill group
is also contributing to the problem.
Anything that lives in a colony, whether it's people or birds, you will always get bickering.
You know, they shout across a garden fence at each other and neighbours fall out with each other.
The problem is with the spoonbills there are only four.
If there is any aggression from two
it's onto the other two.
If you have a complete colony, if you have a larger number,
then bickering isn't taken out on individuals -
they can't be singled out -
it's spread through the group.
If you watch the flamingos, there's constant bickering going on.
It doesn't become aggressive because something else happens
or another one walks by and walks between them.
Um, it doesn't usually become violent.
Um, and the more that there are in the colony,
it spreads...it spreads the load.
Thankfully, the two bullied spoonbills have recovered well from their ordeal.
For now, they'll be kept safely apart,
until some spoonbill girls can be brought in
to calm the boys down.
I think the important thing is to find one of the continental zoos who are breeding them
and bring in four females,
and then, hopefully, everything in the garden will be rosy.
A lot of activity then, a lot of noise,
and, hopefully, a lot of little spoonbills.
Across the park, there's been excitement of a much nicer sort.
Longleat's herd of seven Bactrian camels recently welcomed a new member to their gang.
The latest arrival is called Elvis,
and he's now just two weeks old.
# ..I'm all shook up, ooh-hoo-hoo
# Yeah, yeah... #
Elvis had a bit of a shaky start as he was born with a weak hind leg.
# ..I can't seem to stand on my own two feet
# Who do you think of when you have such luck...? #
Thankfully, within days, the leg strengthened.
# ..Mm-mm-hmm, ooh-ooh
# Yeah, yeah... #
Now Elvis is enjoying his excursions into the wilder enclosure.
I'm out in the new area with keeper Adie Landfear,
and the new camel is going out for one of its first trips out, isn't it?
Yes. He's been out a few times,
but it's still a very new experience for him.
He's in a mixed reserve where he'll encounter different species that he wouldn't normally encounter.
We've got the rhinos over there,
we've got the Ankole cattle...
And all these cars!
Which, presumably, genuinely, for a young camel
is actually a bit of an issue, is it?
-He doesn't know what's dangerous and what isn't.
-He's got to learn.
He's got to learn a lot from Mum.
That's Bhali, protecting there.
She's been an excellent mother.
She's using her body as a shield there.
She's literally shepherding him around.
Have you noticed a character forming with the young camel?
He's very playful.
Mum's been very good. We're able to handle him, have a play with him.
You look after them every day
-and you must recognise characters between all of them.
The biggest character is Babs. She's got the saggy humps.
They are so saggy it doesn't look like she has any humps whatsoever.
It looks like she's flattened them!
The humps are actually stored fats,
which they use for energy
and through a process of oxidation they actually produce water.
Really? So that's how they can live in an arid area?
They can live up to 17 days without water,
but because she's got a ready supply of food and water,
her body's adapted, got a little bit lazy,
and there's no need to store so much fat, so they've sagged over.
And are you confident that this youngster is happily blending in,
mixing with the camels that already exist here?
Yeah. He's mixing very well with the other camels.
They've all got to learn their place.
-But they'll encounter other animals with horns in here,
The Oryx is our biggest worry, the five girls up there.
They're very inquisitive. They come over and they circle the young one,
and they will try and test it with their horns,
and it's a little bit frightening at the moment.
Until he gets bigger, we've got somebody watching him out here.
Adie, thank you very much.
And we'll keep you posted on Elvis's progress throughout the series.
# ..Yeah, yeah, I'm all shook up! #
Ensuring the survival of Longleat's baby animals
is constant challenge for the keepers.
Up in Wolf Wood, breeding season is underway
and there's been a dramatic development.
The last time we were here, we heard that Freda, the alpha female, was thought to be pregnant.
That was as expected,
and everyone was hoping that this would be a bumper breeding season, just like last year.
But recently, as signs of the pregnancy finally started to show,
keeper Bob Trollope noticed that Freda was not the only female who was looking round in the belly.
This year, we've got two females that are pregnant.
One you can see just up by the road there.
And that's the alpha female.
But we also have a lesser-ranking female that is pregnant, as well.
She's not here at the moment, cos she's close to her den site,
and doesn't tend to go very far away from there.
So it's an exciting time of year for us.
It may be exciting, but it's also a worry.
The wolf pack works best as a team,
when everyone knows there place in the hierarchy.
Normally, it's only the alpha pair that will breed,
cos it's the strongest pair, so the offspring will be stronger.
You do sometimes get another female that will come into season
but if the alpha female is doing her job,
then she will suppress that season.
She does that by dominating and stressing the other females.
It's the natural way that wolves control the birth rate in the wild,
where the food supply is usually scare.
Of course, here at Longleat, they don't keep any animals in a state of constant hunger.
In the wild, if there was plenty of food, plenty of animals to hunt,
then the female would allow another one to get pregnant.
And now there are indications that both Freda and the other pregnant female
are only days away from giving birth.
We have noticed that they have been building little nest sites.
So that is a positive sign.
Plus the fact that on Freda you can see signs that she is sort of imminent.
So the keepers are also doing what they can to get things ready.
We're not allowing anyone up to the Wolf House.
We're basically trying to keep that as quiet as possible.
We haven't mucked the house out for a week,
so that any wolf that's going in there is leaving their smell,
so that it's a bit more alluring for the females to go in there
and find somewhere quiet for themselves to give birth.
This year the keepers have gone to extra lengths
to encourage the wolves to have their cubs indoors.
A few weeks ago they built a wooden den and installed it in the Wolf House.
The hope was that the mums-to-be would find it cosy and safe, an ideal nursery.
In the past, cubs have always been born out in the enclosure
in one of the many dens the wolves dig under the roots of the trees.
The problem with that is that there's always the risk
that the dens could flood after heavy rain,
and there's no way for the keepers to monitor the cubs in case of emergencies.
The wooden den, on the other hand, has been fitted with a spy camera
so that we and the keepers will have a chance to see the new cubs actually being born.
For now, though, Bob's using the camera to check for encouraging activity inside the den.
It's pretty hard to see who it is at the moment
but it looks like a young female.
She's actually in nest-building, she's actually making a nest,
which is... You don't normally see them do this.
We know they do build nests...
like most dogs, to make themselves comfortable,
but these are a little bit more in-depth.
They're building the banks up a little bit,
which is a good indication...
that they will be giving birth pretty soon.
But while this young mum seems to have settled on the wooden den
as the best place to have her cubs, Freda, the alpha female,
hasn't yet been seen anywhere near it.
Perhaps she's intending to stick to the traditional hole in the ground.
But, of course, we only need one litter to get some pretty special footage.
This is really exciting cos we would never see this.
In previous years, they've always burrowed under the trees
and gave birth in total secrecy.
But seeing as we've got these cameras set up, it's brilliant for us to be able to keep an eye on them.
And also to see how many cubs are born,
because we don't know until the first few weeks.
Within the next day or two,
I would put money on the fact that this one is going to give birth.
She is acting how you would expect a pregnant wolf to act.
But this is her first pregnancy and there's still a lot that can go wrong.
We'll be back later to see what happens in Wolf Wood.
Using the spy camera to help Bob and Brian monitor the birth of wolf cubs
has given head of section Mark Tye an idea.
I've worked with these guys for a long time now and
we know very well what happens during the day, but that's it.
Despite looking after western lowland gorillas Nico and Samba for over 20 years,
and there are some aspects of their behaviour Mark has never seen, and he's keen to learn more.
I'm up at Gorilla Island, and we're trying a little bit of an experiment, here.
We are going to spy on Nico and Samba,
the two western lowland gorillas
who are tucked away in their cage, here.
And we're going to try and see what they get up to at night.
I'm just going to sneak gently in here, in case Nico gets cross.
There's a camera right up here, which should give us a bird's-eye view of Samba in her cage at night.
So this is where she sleeps. There will be another one in Nico's cage.
And, if I come back out, you can see head of section, Mark Tye.
How you doing, Mark? We've got cameras here and lights.
But these are infrared lights. They won't be really bright.
They won't disturb the gorillas but it means we can get shots both in daylight and at night
and down here is all the recording equipment that will just
buzz away through the night and can record for about nine or ten hours.
So we should get... Well, have you any idea, really, what happens once you go home at the end of the day?
No, none whatsoever. We know very well what happens during the day and sort of early evening,
but once we go home, that's it.
Presumably, are they entirely shut in at night?
Will it just be two sleeping gorillas, do you think?
No, because it's summer now, and the weather's a lot better, we leave the door open at night.
They can go out on to the island all through the night if they want to.
-One of the things is, we don't know if they do.
Shall we just pop outside? I know we've got all the stuff out here.
We have put a camera out here in case they do come out which is just there, again.
Those wires will be tucked away.
So we're going to spread food out.
-Would you normally feed them at night?
-Yes, we do put a lot of diet out for them at night.
We scatter that around the island and they have the natural forage
that we leave for them as well.
So, we should spread all these out,
-get them ready for the night, come back and see what evidence there is in the morning.
-Really looking forward to it.
Join us a bit later to find out what Nico and Samba get up to at night.
There are new arrivals all over the park.
In fact, youngsters are popping up everywhere.
I'm up in Wallaby Wood with keeper Bev Evans
and we've come to catch up with some of the newborn joeys here.
How old are these little guys?
A lot of these joeys sticking their heads out at the moment are about five, five and a half months old.
How long would they stay in the pouch?
Around nine months old. At nine months, they are popping in and out, building up their confidence.
I notice the mums are chewing on bread and various other things.
What would the joeys be eating?
They will pick at a few things.
A little bit of grass, a little bit of bread, but nothing very solid because at the moment,
-they're still on their mum's milk.
-How do they get the milk in the pouch?
The mum's got four teats inside the pouch.
So there's a bit of a choice, really.
-And is there always only one wallaby in the pouch?
Although there could be a young joey outside who's not fully weaned yet.
You'll have one outside, one in the pouch which is very young, about five months old, and she'll still have
an egg as well, which she's holding, which has already been fertilised.
When the joey leaves the pouch that egg will go straight in and she'll be pregnant again.
So it's a continual cycle, really.
She's basically continually pregnant.
-And do the little joeys ever come out?
If it's really quiet, they'll put the joey out, give it a bit of a lick and a clean and put it back in again.
-So doing the spring cleaning in the pouch.
-That's right, yes.
They really are absolutely beautiful. Bev, thank you very much.
Here's what's still to come on today's programme.
With cubs on the way, there are dramatic developments in Wolf Wood.
There was no sign whatsoever to warn us something was going wrong.
Bev and I continue our tour of the park's nurseries
and meet Longleat's most decorated new arrival - a baby named Gomez.
And we'll see what Nico and Samba really get up to
when they think no-one is watching.
A typical bloke!
It really is!
That's something you never see during the day.
For more than four centuries, Lord Bath's family has been filling Longleat House with treasures.
So now, the 114 official rooms are furnished with valuable antiques
while the walls are hung with irreplaceable paintings.
There are seven separate libraries that contain
44,000 books and manuscripts -
almost all of them rare, with some bordering on priceless.
In its long history, Longleat House has survived civil war, fire
and the attention of thieves.
But now, a hidden enemy threatens the very existence of the place.
Inside the wood, the fabric and the paper lurk armies of insects -
woodworm, clothes moths and now the latest invader -
Ptinus tectus, the Australian spider beetle.
The curator of Longleat's historic collections is Kate Harris.
It's up to her to stop them from turning all this history into dust.
We're fighting not just a battle at Longleat, but a war, with several
campaigns against small creatures that destroy important things.
Mostly a beetle called Ptinus tectus, the Australian spider beetle.
And also, of course, woodworm - which affects all historic furniture.
We've used the fumigator methyl bromide in the past,
years ago, for our whole library.
And now we're using C02 fumigation
on objects that are in the southwest corner of the house,
where we have seen a lot of evidence of a lot of Ptinus tectus about for some time.
So it's really another battle, another skirmish with them.
We don't think we will win but we are getting closer all the time.
Using CO2 - that's carbon dioxide - to kill insect infestations
is quite a new technique and it's never been done at Longleat before.
First, the objects that need to be done are collected into neat piles
so that they can be sealed into giant airtight bubbles made from a special packaging material.
Ken Windess, who's now the house conservator, has prepared several of these infested piles.
The next step now is to actually seal the bubbles.
What they do now is create a bubble with this material,
so they need to seal the base over, so that it is literally like a tent.
What happens then is that they literally suck out all the oxygen,
or as much air as they can, out of the bubble, then replace it with C02.
And then of course, anything that normally breathes oxygen will die.
With everything in place, it's time to hand over to the professionals.
They're going to start with the piles of infested books and antiques
that have been assembled in the old Victorian kitchen.
As technical director of the pest control company, Colin Smith is only
too aware of the first rule of combat - know your enemy.
This is a typical example.
This is wool.
And what's very interesting about this is that
this is the sort of damage the insects will cause
and this is the type of material they love to go for
because it's a protein.
They are behind the scenes, in the dark, in storerooms.
People don't know they're there at all,
slowly chomping away and when you realise there's a problem,
then that's what you get - you get holes in everything.
But now, the fumigators swing into action
deploying their secret weapon - specially designed tents.
We now have to form a gas-tight structure
and that is very difficult to do indeed.
This material is very similar to the material you would have at home
that you would keep your coffee in.
When you go to the supermarket, you buy your aluminium pack of coffee,
it's almost the same material,
except, here, of course, we're making a huge structure.
The infested piles have been placed on top of sheets of the packaging material,
so the tents can be made gas-tight round the bottom edge, using a heat-sealing machine.
And this is where the carbon dioxide is introduced.
And it takes about ten minutes to fill the bubble up, like this.
Carbon dioxide is the gas we all breathe out.
It's harmless in small amounts, but inside the bubble tents, it will be at a concentration of 60 per cent.
And that's lethal, not only to insects, but also to people.
The only risk, really, is if there was to be an accidental puncturing of
the bubble, or if somebody was silly enough to put their head inside it.
That would be very serious.
That person would be affected very quickly indeed.
So, safety procedures must be observed when the bubble tents are being filled with C02.
The room is cleared and the fumigators must wear breathing apparatus.
We'll be back later when it's time for the bubbles to be opened.
Across the Safari Park, it's all hands on deck
to ensure every baby animal gets the chance of a good start in life.
Somehow, though, raising a family seems a lot more straightforward
for Longleat's pair of South American tapirs, Jethro and Jess.
They have just one baby at a time,
almost every year, regular as clockwork.
Little Gomez is number five.
I'm out in the tapir paddock with senior warden Bev Evans
and the tapirs, including a very large looking Gomez.
-He was so much smaller when I last saw him!
-Yes, he's shot up.
-Can we go and see him?
We've got some food for mum and dad
so that they don't mind us coming and saying hello to everyone.
He's still got his stripes.
Yes, quite strikingly, he's still got his spots and stripes.
And how is he with people? He is letting us come quite close to him.
Yes. He's a little bit shy. He's one of our more nervous babies.
But he's fine. He's starting to eat a few more solids so maybe he'll come over for some bananas.
-How long will these stripes stay on him for?
-Round about six months.
-And then he'll look exactly like Mum and Dad?
-Exactly like Dad.
He'll get really big really quickly.
And he's had only cold weather until now but we got the sun out. Is he enjoying it?
Yes, definitely. Getting very active, in fact.
And of course, Bev, he's got a little pond over there.
Mum and Dad go in there when it's nice and hot. Has he been in yet?
No, he hasn't yet but I'm thinking he's just too small.
Jess will encourage him in when she's happy with his size
but at the moment, she's not taking him in the pond at all.
And in terms of eating,
I can't tell if he's actually eating some of the fruit we put down.
He has. He will go for the banana. Banana is obviously a lot softer.
He's going for the softer fruit rather than what he enjoys more?
Banana is a favourite of tapirs anyway,
but as it's soft, yes, he's definitely aiming for that.
-How have Mum and Dad been here?
We have already gone through mating already, so they're getting straight back into the swing of things.
Everybody in the family is getting on well.
I'm amazed they've gone through a mating this soon,
when he's still so young and they're still looking after him.
Yes, she comes in season quite quickly.
-And that's typical behaviour out in the wild?
They're always pregnant out in the wild.
They're just continual.
-Does that mean, then, that more baby tapirs could potentially be born here?
-Yes - more than likely.
13 months' time, hopefully, we'll have another baby.
-13 months, is that the gestation period for a tapir?
In the wild, the babies do tend to hide for the first few months,
to kind of protect them from predators.
Is he showing any of that sort of behaviour?
Yes, Mum will go and lay him up somewhere,
and carry on doing her normal thing.
And he will be absolutely fine for a couple of hours.
Really? And in here, does that mean behind a tree? In a bush?
Unfortunately, it means right on the other side, and getting lost.
So we've had a few problems with him getting on at the wrong side of fences and things like that,
but he's generally getting the idea of it now,
but yes, he's quite small, so we lose him quite a few times.
I'm sure. Well, Bev, thank you very much for letting me come in again.
I'm so glad that he's doing as well as he is.
While parenting for the tapirs is going smoothly,
making babies is a much more complicated matter for wolves.
The keepers have been on high alert, waiting for the birth of two separate litters of pups.
For the second year running, Freda the alpha female was pregnant
but, in addition, a younger female was also expecting.
And it looked like she would have her cubs in the new wooden den
in the wolf house which has been fitted with a spy camera.
But when Bob Trollope and Brian Kent came in this morning,
they found that the young mum to be was missing.
'Had a look round the section. Couldn't find her for ages.'
I thought, perhaps she's gone inside and had her pups.
Kept on looking
for a while, to try and find her.
Eventually, I did. She was outside,
laying down, dead, unfortunately.
There was no sign whatsoever to warn us something was going wrong.
Just one of those things that unfortunately does happen.
A post-mortem revealed that the young female had suffered
pre-natal complications and and deadly infection had set in.
Death would have come quickly and the cubs had no chance.
It was unexpected. You don't expect that, you know - just turn up and she was dead, unfortunately.
It's not very nice but there were no other signs that we know of, wrong with her.
I saw her a few days ago. She seemed fine.
She's even come in here, hoping she was going to use it to pup down.
But now, Bob and Brian still need to get things ready for Freda, the alpha female.
Perhaps with the other one gone, she will come and have her cubs in the wooden den.
We've cleaned out the box -
something that we weren't going to do initially,
but we thought about it and we thought, if there are any smells
in there, a bit too strong, just to encourage Freda in there, we've put a clean bed in,
fresh smells, she might come in and hopefully give birth in the den.
Prior to today,
it was the young female that was using the box more than Freda.
Hopefully, we just want to encourage her in a bit more.
But the next day, there's another surprise.
Freda was spotted acting strangely.
We've come in to check all the cameras were still working and we noticed that she had laid up
in a bed of nettles.
And on walking back to the vehicles,
we could hear some whimpering noises.
And obviously, she had started to give birth.
And when we heard, she picked one up and wandered off with it.
So we knew she had given birth.
And it was an amazing sight, to see something that had just been born.
With her cubs out in the open, Freda is likely to be very
protective, so it's vital for everyone to stay well away.
Bob's been watching what we're getting with our camera.
They're a really dark colour, which I suppose, if she was giving
birth and and then under a tree,
or something, they would blend in with the surroundings.
From what we can see of them, they do look very, very healthy.
They are all doing what we would expect them to to do.
They are all tucked in near mum,
and there's a possibility that we have even seen them suckling.
But it's hard to tell.
The other members of the pack have rallied round to help Freda
look after the new cubs.
If she was to get up and go for a drink,
there would always be someone protecting those cubs.
There would always be a babysitter.
It's a big team effort just to raise these cubs.
They are young - they're not even 24 hours old yet.
So we've got a long way to go, honestly.
Needless to say, we'll be there to follow
all the action later in the series.
For the last 20 years, Nico and Samba,
the residents of Gorilla Island,
have led their life in the public eye.
But come nightfall, they have the place to themselves.
And in all that time, no-one has ever seen what they get up to...
I'm in the gorilla house with head of section, Mark Tye.
And yesterday, we rigged up cameras all over the house and outside,
to really spy on the gorillas at night,
because you've never really seen what they get up to at night, have you?
No. We know very well their day-to-day routine,
but once we go home in the evening we're a bit in the dark.
We don't know what they get up to.
OK. Well, the doors are left open at the moment
because it's nice and warm, so they can go in and out, can't they?
Yes, they have a free run when the weather's nice, and they can make use of the island at night.
And you put some food out.
Food is out and scattered round the island as we'd normally do.
Shall we press play and see what happens?
So, we're looking first of all at one of the cameras
mounted outside the house.
Right on cue - there he is. Look at that.
He thinks of nothing but food, that boy,
so he's always the first to find it.
No sign of Samba yet. Shall we check indoors, and see if she's there?
OK, I'll just change over.
She seems to be in Nico's pen.
Yeah. I'm not sure what she'll be doing in there.
But she won't stay there for long once he walks in the door.
It does seem odd - they have been together for so long, that they
don't curl up together at night but it doesn't seem to be the case.
No. I know.
Nico wants to be friends. I've seen that before when we've had them together in the pens during the day.
He wants to touch Samba and he wants to get hold of her, sometimes.
He's quite gentle and nice, but she doesn't want to know. She's having none of it.
-Just doesn't fancy him at all.
Now being kicked out by Nico, into her own pen.
He seems to have spotted the camera, looking straight up at it.
He's not silly.
He's heard us working up in the roof and drilling holes in the roof.
And what's he going to...Go?
He's climbing! Look at that!
It's right hidden in the roof.
It's really only just a black hole, as far as he's concerned.
-Is he? Is he going to have a look?
-Wow! That is amazing!
Don't do the camera, Nico!
Sniffed the camera, see if it was worth eating.
He did, didn't he?
He wasn't particularly bothered by it - it was just potential food!
Didn't smell very good.
This is stuff from a little bit later on, it's gone to infrared.
It's black and white so it must be completely dark outside.
-Still messing with her bed.
Still messing with her bed, isn't she?
Just can't decide where she wants to be.
-No. She does suffer from a bit of arthritis.
Yeah. Lying in one position may be uncomfortable for her
for any length of time, which is why she moves around a lot.
Where is she off to? Looks like she's going outside.
She's going out! That's surprising.
I didn't think that once it got dark, they would actually go out.
-Here she comes.
She's coming out.
Don't know why she's done that unless she's heard some noise out there.
-Again, it's late. She'd eaten well. It's not really hunger that would have driven her out, is it?
Now, if she heard a noise, would be likely that Nico would come out, too?
-He may do.
-Let's go and check on Nico.
Check on him, I suppose.
-Look at him!
-He's completely zonked.
THEY BOTH LAUGH Typical bloke!
-Ha-ha! It really is, isn't it?
-And that's something you never see during the day.
He's always very dignified and sort of sat up. So to see him and just sprawled like that...
Feels a bit naughty, it feels like we really have spied on him.
-Thank you very much.
Up in Longleat House,
it's been four weeks since the battle began against the invading
army of insects that are threatening to devour some of the most precious art, antiques and books.
The worst-affected items were sealed in purpose-built gas-proof bubble tents
which had been filled with lethal concentrations of carbon dioxide.
For safety's sake, the rooms where the tents were set up have been sealed for 28 days.
But now, the fumigators have returned because it's time to open the bubbles.
C02 is not normally toxic,
but it's being used in a concentration high enough to kill.
So the technicians must wear breathing apparatus.
There's no guarantee that the process has done the job.
And, as we're not allowed in while they're working,
we just have to wait until the fumigators have finished.
When everything was cleaned up, service manager Mike Davis reported back.
It's brilliant. Everything has gone absolutely fine.
All the insects are dead and we've taken the covers off.
They are ready now for the house people to come in and empty the bubbles for us.
It's great when we finish and we can get onto the next one.
This was the first time the new C02 technique was used here.
So, it's a relief that it has worked.
But this isn't the end of the problem, as the curator of Longleat
historic collections Kate Harris knows only too well.
'Of course, it's only one step in an on-going process.
'It's not an instant, total cure for all time.'
We have to make sure everything goes back into a clean environment that has also been treated
with insecticides, and that we keep up the housekeeping for the future.
So, they've won this battle with the bugs but the war continues.
Next winter, it will be the old library's turn to make a start on.
Cleaning and vacuuming and the rest of it - our usual programme of work.
If there's anything going on, that's when we will spot it.
We've come down to Pets' Corner with Alexa Fairburn and two of...
I just don't know how anyone cannot like rats, Alexa.
They are so adorable.
These are new ones, and very small.
They're only eight weeks - it's a really good age to get them from,
so you can really start handling them and get, really, to bond with them.
-They make brilliant pets.
-Yep, really friendly, really intelligent.
You can train them to do things as well.
-What can you train them to do?
-They can pick things up, and bring them back to you, small objects...
Obviously not the newspaper - that would be a bit of a struggle!
And what about feeding and that sort of thing?
Do they need a complicated diet?
No. You can buy commercial pet food, same as hamsters, rabbits, everything like that.
But they are pretty much garbage bins - they will eat anything.
Is there anything you should avoid them eating?
Green foods, really. A lot of green foods can give them an upset stomach.
-Lettuce leaves and things like that?
-Yeah. Too much moisture.
-You'd think those sort of things would be good for them.
-You can tell if a rat's healthy, because their teeth should be orange.
-Come on, show us your pegs.
-Let's have a look.
-I'll have a...
-You see if you can... No.
"I'm not going to Ben, I'm not going to Ben, no way!"
I'll definitely leave that one with you, Kate. Let me have a quick look.
-Has it got a name, yet?
-Yes, this one's Squeak.
The one up Kate's sleeve is Bubble.
Ah! Very good! Are they happy alone, or do they like company?
They like company.
So it's best to get two perhaps, if you were going to have one.
-You are quite sweet, actually.
Look! You see, Ben? You don't need a dog at all.
You can just stick with rats. They're much more fun.
Call me old-fashioned, Kate.
Alexa, thank you very much. Sadly, we're out of time, but here's what's coming up on the next Animal Park.
Up at Wolf Wood, these fearsome hunters
try their paw at a spot of fishing.
The park has ordered two new safari boats for Half Mile Lake,
but unless it rains soon, they'll be left high and dry.
And we'll be there to greet the first baby Eland antelope
to be born in the park for over eight years.
So, don't miss the next Animal Park.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]