Animal residents at Chessington receive health MOTs

Making sure you’re fit as a fiddle with an annual health MOT isn’t only limited to homo sapiens. Zookeepers at a Surrey zoo have been hard at work making sure its 1,000 animal residents are in tip-top shape.

From the smallest squirrel monkey to the tallest giraffe, the keepers at Chessington World of Adventures Resort have been carrying out a series of important health checks. Whether it’s mammals, reptiles or birds, each animal has been carefully checked by the dedicated team of zookeepers and vets to monitor their health.

  • A California sea lion called Carla opens wide for her keeper to check her teeth and mouth for any injuries or ulcers. Interestingly, sea lions don’t have enamel on their teeth like people do. Instead, they have natural bacteria that builds up and helps protect their teeth.
  • Kito, a 17-foot Rothschild’s giraffe receives a hoof pedicure. The zookeepers have been working hard to train all the giraffes to present their hooves for a pedicure in which keepers check the overall health of the hoof and whether they’re in need of trimming.
  • Bubo, a Mackinder’s eagle owl, and Rosie, an Asian brown wood owl have their weight checked and recorded to keep track of their overall health and make sure they are receiving the right amount of nutrition.
  • Striped skunk, Breeze, sits patiently while her nails are trimmed. Skunk’s nails should be long enough to allow them to dig for insects, grubs and worms under the soil, but not too long to affect them moving about.
  • Belle, a Sulcata tortoise enjoys a bath, which helps remove dust, dirt and bacteria from building up on her shell and skin. Just like people relax and unwind in a bubble bath, tortoises find a wash extremely soothing.
  • A zookeeper measures the length of Ruby, an iguana, to track his progress as he ages. Ruby is in fact a green iguana, the largest member of the iguana family.

Samantha Eden, Zoo Operations Manager at Chessington World of Adventures Resort, said: “At Chessington, the health and overall wellbeing of each and every animal is our priority – from the smallest leaf-cutter ant to the tallest giraffe. Just as people undergo health screenings, it’s similar for the 1,000 animals in our care, all of whom receive daily checks. Whether it’s clean teeth, regular heart rates or optimal weights, our birds, mammals and reptiles undergo all kinds of checks.”

Guests can currently explore the zoo and SEA LIFE Aquarium at Chessington World of Adventures Resort on weekends and between February 12 to16, with the rides and attractions reopening for 2024 on March 22. Zootastic tickets start from £14pp.To book tickets to the Resort or accommodation in the Resort’s Hotels, visit

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