Taking photos in zoos

  • Do research beforehand to learn about the sort of behaviours the animal should display and the type of habitat they should be living in. You'll know what to expect for your photo and be able to spot good enclosures.
  • Animals should be kept in groups they'd form naturally in the wild and in surroundings that allow them to perform their natural behaviours. For instance, meerkats live in large groups in the wild and so you should expect to see lots of them living together in the same enclosure. Otters love to swim, so you may want to snap them underwater. Mongooses often dig to find their food in the wild, so their meals may be buried to encourage this natural behaviour.
  • It's really important that animals can escape from view if they want to (especially animals that may get eaten in the wild). They may see you, the visitor, as a predator!
  • Animals that share an enclosure should have room and/or cage furniture that allows them to get away from each other if they want to. Structures such as dens, dense bushes and hollow logs, and access to their indoor housing, give them the choice to escape from each other if they aren't getting on.
  • Sometimes animals in zoos carry out strange behaviours like repetitive pacing back and forth along the same route, which can be a sign that the environment isn't providing everything they need. Other odd behaviours to watch out for include: cats and dogs (e.g. tigers, ocelots, wolves) walking around and around the edge of their enclosure and wearing a path in the floor; giraffes rolling their tongues or licking walls; elephants swaying from side to side; and parrots plucking out their feathers.