mammals

Mammal

Alpaca

3000 years ago the first alpacas were bred for their wool. The ancestral breed of alpacas are vicuñas which live in the high alpine areas of the Andes. Since alpaca wool is very soft the Incas called it the "fleece of the gods". Unlike sheep wool it does not contain any lanolin and is therefore suitable for people with allergies. Nowadays in Germany alpacas are not only kept for their wool. Thanks to their gentle and calming character they are also used in animal assisted therapy.

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Mammal

Alpine ibex

All ibexes have horns - with lengths up to one metre the males' ones get especially large. They serve primarliy for communication with conspecifics. During the late summer the males use their horns to perform courtship displays to impress herds of 10 to 20 females and young animals. They do so by getting up on their hind legs, dropping down forward and colliding with the horns with loud crashing. The winner stays with the herd during the winter, mates with the females and leaves the group in the spring.

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Mammal

Alpine marmot

Alpine marmots spend the majority of their lives underground in self-dug burrows especially during their seven month long hibernation. They have large paws with strong claws for digging. Using their front legs or teeth they loosen the soil and throw it behind them with their strong hind legs. Because their burrows are built over generations there are large mounds of earth in front of the entrances. Alpine marmots usually stay close to one of the numerous entrances in order to quickly escape from predators.

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Mammal

Bactrian camel

For bad times reserves are necessary - Bactrian camels keep their reserves within their humps. They do not contain water but fat. If they are properly filled they rise up 25-35 cm. Camels can also deal well with water shortage: They can survive 2-3 weeks without water since they rarely sweat und only excrete small amounts of water when urinating. After several days without water they can drink about 100 liters in just a few minutes.

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Mammal

Banded mongoose

Just like other mongooses banded mongooses are specialists when it comes the opening of eggs:They put the raw egg between their paws and systematically throw it against a rock or something else by straddle-vaulting their back legs. They then slurp the contents of the broken egg. 

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Mammal

Common dwarf shrew

With only 2 - 3 g body weight and 5 cm body length the common dwarf shrew shares the title of „smallest mammal of the world“ with the bumblebee bat. It offers a number of superlatives: with up to 1300 beats per minute and up to 900 breaths per minute it is the "top" of the the animal kingdom. Thanks to their high metabolism common dwarf shrews are constantly looking for food and eat up to 15 crickets or mealworms per day - wich comes to 1.5 times their own body weight!

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Mammal

Degu

Degus live in arid areas with sparse vegetation which is why they are used to a meagre diet and are not able to process sugar. That is why they have been used as test animals in diabetes research. Since the mid-1970s the cute, agile, diurnal and socially living small animals have become popular pets. When feeding them fruits and other sugary foods should be avoided in order to prevent diabetes.

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Mammal

Domestic cattle

The breed from the 18th century is characterized by a good feed conversion ratio, fattening and tractive performance. Because it is almost extinct the red cattle is part of the state conservation programme.

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Mammal

Domestic cattle

This cow was bred in the North Marshes of Friesland. From 1965 onwards the crossing of Holstein Fresian from North Ameica began in the old German federal states. In The former DDR in 1970 90% of the cows were black pied. After 1970 the cows were crossed with Jersey and Holstein Frisian in a Three-breed crossing to black pied dairy cattle.

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Mammal

Domestic donkey

To this day, donkeys are required to carry out heavy loads, riding and pulling. Compared to horses, because of their "prudence" they are better suited for working in difficult terrain. They do not run away when there is danger, but stay e.g. face dangerous bridges. This caution was ignored by the ancient Greeks. The donkeys were assumed to be stupid. That's why they called tasks that stupid don't dare "donkey bridges". Today, "donkey bridges" are good memories for us.

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Mammal

Domestic goat

This demanding goat breed produces around 700-800 kg of milk per year and is very well suited for a combined use for both milk and meat. In addition the animals are very fertile and particularly the females mature early. Thuringian goats are good mothers; multiple births occur frequently. The goats show a high resistance and is often used for landscape maintenance as they are bred for the harsh climate of the Thuringian forest.

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Mammal

Domestic goat

The African pygmy goat climbs and jumps excellently when it wants to reach the bark and leaves of trees and bushes. That earned it the name Tree Goat. In their African homeland they sometimes cause great damage by eating the bark as trees may die. The pygmy goats are kept in Africa by nomads in herds of 50 to 1000 animals in a migratory economy but also settled tribes appreciate their meat.

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Mammal

Domestic goat

Cashmere goats live in the Asian highlands at altetudes up to 4,500 m under extreme temperature conditions. During winter at temperaturs of - 30° Celsius they grow the precious hair. The coarse upper hairs easily protects them against rain. The 6 cm long fine hairs of the undercoat keep them warm. In the past this hair was combed out by hand and then processed into the famous cashmere scarfs. Only emperors, kings or other very wealthy people could afford these garments.

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Mammal

Domestic guinea pig

These little rodents actually owe their name to the fact that they were brought from South America to Europe on ships of seafarers and their voives resemble the squeaking of small piglets. The communication between the animals varies. They "chuckle", "whistle" and "squeak". By squeaking they get in touch, they call for their mother. Domestic guinea pigs also squeak when they are being fed by the zoo keepers. Guinea pigs are very social animals and should therefore not be kept alone. Before purchasing a guinea pig you should find out about their needs and requirements. We are happy to inform you and give you tips!

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Mammal

Domestic pig

In fact the so-called Tibetan pigs that live in the Tibetan village of Görlitz zoo do not actually exist. In order to recreate the appearance of the doemstic pigs living in Tibet attempts were made to cross the European wild boar and the Meishan pig. The result is impressive: almost real Tibetan pigs.

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Mammal

Domestic pig

In the beginning of the 20th century the saddlebag was very popular due to its robustness, good feed utilization and mothering abilities. From the 1950s onwards consumers demanded lean meat and the livestock declined rapidly.

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Mammal

Domestic rabbit

After the Romans conquered Spain in 206 BC they exported the wild rabbits in other countries for food. Originally the rabbits were held in enclosures surrounded by walls. Brown hares could not be kept because they ran against the walls and injured themselves trying to escape and as they are flight animals. In 1000 AC rabbits first became pets. French monks kept them in cages and selected them according to tameness, adaptability and rapid growth.

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Mammal

Domestic rat

The black rat is a descendant of arboreal species from southern Europe that still nest in trees. As a synanthropic species it lives in packs, consisting of up to 60 animals. It is often found in barns, attics and granaries. Black rats are very curious and playful. They act carefully on dangers. Before they try a new food source they will send a scout as food taster.

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Mammal

Domestic sheep

Originalls the species was widespread in north-eastern Germany and Poland. The undemanding and resistant milk sheep is well adapted to barren pasturages on dry sand and wet soils and was often kept for personal requirements-. Since the beginning of the 19th century the livestock of sheep was steadily declining. The wool is too rough for people. That is why the wool is only being felt today. Soft, smooth synthetic fibres often replace sheep's wool in textiles.

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Mammal

Domestic yak

Without domestic yaks the life of the Tibetans at an altitude of more than 2000m would be unthinkable. They are very insensitive to the cold and they are very undemanding. Because of their big claws they are very helpful pack and riding animals on snoy mountain passes. Their tasty meat is often cut in stripes and dried. The milk is processed into butter and their fur into clothing, blankets and tents. Their excrement is dried in wood-poor areas and used as fuel. The tail serves as a fly swatter.

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Mammal

European otter

The menu of the otters in our zoo varies. There are fish, liver,  mice or chicken, heart or rumen. The food of their free-living conspecifics looks different. In addition to fish they also hunt craps, amphibians and small animals. Wild ducks or herons are also a feast for them just like for the zoo otters who share their large enclosure with them. They sometimes catch such a bird themselves and then they do not wnat to know anything about the food of the zoo keepers.

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Mammal

Golden-headed lion tamarin

The reproduction of this species which belongs to the callitrichidae is very interesting. Golden-headed lion tamarins are very social animals that live in small groups of about 2 to 11 individuals. However, only one female is able to reproduce. Pheromones supress the cycle of the remaining females in the group. The offspring is therefore "exclusive" and is cared for by the whole group: older siblings and especially the father carry the offspring (usually 2) around on their backs. The mother only takes them for feeding. Rearing the offspring all together helps the lactating mothers to stay fit.

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Mammal

Great gray kangaroo

Although it is the largest mammal in Australia the great gray kangaroo cub is no larger than a gummy bear at birth. It measures just 2.5 cm and weighs less than 1 gram! Although completely underdeveloped it finds its way from the birth opening into the mother's pouch and clings to a teat with its mouth which it won't let go of for the next two to three months. Immediately after the birth of a young animal the female mates again. However, this embryo only develops and is born when the older cub has finally left the pouch. The evolutionary advantage is likely to be found in the sometimes inhospitable habitats of these animals: if the cub dies or the mother has to leave a successor is immediately available.

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Mammal

Manul

Especially in the early morning hours and in the twilight the manul goes hunting in the high-altitude steppes of the Himalaya. Their short legs show that they hunt their prey only for short distances. More often they hide near dens of small rodents and wait persistently for their prey. If the den is not very deep they reach into it and try to fish for its inhabitants. Small rodents and pikas are a large part of their prey.

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Mammal

Père David‘s rock squirrel

Père David's rock squirrels are endemic to China. It is not an endangered species because it is widespread and has a large total population and is also found in protected areas and very common in some places. Although they mainly live on the ground they are very good at climbing.

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