It’s no secret that our keepers will do whatever it takes to keep our animals in tip-top shape. Sometimes, that means getting elbow deep into animal droppings or investigating vomit. 

While it is not the most glamorous part of the job, we love poo! A change in texture, colour or frequency in excrements can tell us valuable information about our animal friends. 

Any strange eating, drinking or toileting habits can alert our keepers and veterinary staff to the need for medical attention. 

Recently, keepers noticed some regurgitated food showing up in the Spotted Hyaena habitat. This was particularly unusual as spotted hyaenas have a strong, unique digestive system that allows them to eat all parts of an animal – meat, skin and bone included. 

But as keepers had been unable to see which hyaena was heaving up meals, some colourful tactics needed to be put into action. 

Keepers mixed animal-safe coloured beads into the food to help determine which one was having some digestive issues.  

Using this colourful system, we found it was only one animal throwing up his dinner as only yellow beads were found. 

Hyaena vomit with yellow beads in it

This helped our veterinarians and animal care team develop and implement a personal health care plan for our hyena with tummy troubles.

You can learn more about our veterinary department here.