Newquay Zoo Pocket Pictures 2001

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThere must be few sets of these Newquay Zoo Pocket Pictures from 2001 remaining intact.

Produced by our enterprising zoo photographer and Marketing Manager in 2001, Michelle Turton, these were sold in the zoo shop.

The fact that my complete series one set includes a free ‘Special’ Ronnie and Lizzie the Lions card  marked in red ‘this card only available with the full set’  suggests that Michelle’s attractive mini-photograph cards might have been on sale individually too in our zoo shop.

Set One header and special Ronnie and Lizzy Card 2001

The cards as you can see were highly educational as well as highly collectable with a few animal facts on the back.


Mammals and reptiles card fronts …


… with educational facts  on the back.

A wide range of species were featured in Set One of 18 cards (plus Special).

Mammals and birds …
… with mammal or  bird facts on the back of each card.  

I photographed these cards in low light to prevent glare from the shiny cards and their protective plastic sleeves. This makes them a little fuzzy, whilst respecting the copyright of Michelle Turton’s original pictures.

Something links these 10 of the 18 cards – they are all animal species here in 2001 that have moved on or are no longer found at Newquay Zoo today (2017).  

The cards show the changing species at Newquay Zoo since 2001.



It is interesting to look at the cards close up. Snowy Owls or Hedwigs were highly popular in 2001, several books into the Harry Potter series (which began around 1997).




Problems with pet reptile keeping or unwanted pet reptiles at this time (c. 2001) are reflected in the message on the back of the Iguana. Both these common reptile pets  grow quite large, become strong  and even grumpy and so were then frequently offered  to Newquay Zoo by their despairing or even desperate owners.

Our Tropical House used to be full of Common Green Iguanas. Only one of those, no doubt called Iggy, was friendly and chilled out enough to use for animal encounters, if you wore a protective leather jacket to protect your skin from claws. Responsible reptile pet ownership or reasons for not having one was a frequent theme of our reptile based talks, events and animal encounters between 1996 and 2001.


Big Cats, Beasts and free ranging Cotton Top Tamarins …


In 1996 we started preparing our Cotton Top Tamarin small monkeys for release from the Tropical House out to free range in the trees along the Maze Road and Tarzan Trail. They remained free-roaming like this for several years, presumably at least until about 2001, until several years of births later, they were becoming increasingly tame in the trees and venturing down to inspect visitors on the ground.  Unfortunately some naughty visitors kept trying to photograph them up close with a bit of food bribery. Later I think they might have moved onto one of our tamarin islands.

The Puma card also mentions ‘The Beast’ stories that were prevalent at the time circa 2001. Two pumas Tina and Shane arrived from Haigh mini zoo which closed somewhere around 1993-96, to live in the old Lion House whilst we fundraised to build the ‘Puma House’, where our lovely Carpathian Lynx now live.  The last of these now elderly Pumas died in the mid 2000s.

Many were the tales or sightings of exotic big and small cat species roaming the Cornish and British countryside. Almost forty years on from the Dangerous Wild Animals act of 1976/77, which allegedly saw many exotic big cat pets released into the wilds of Britain, people telling me of these sightings after a big cat talk here at Newquay Zoo is quite unusual and rare occurrence now.

Free spirited Raccoons …


Our Newquay  raccoon  story was told in an earlier blogpost


The ‘Special’ Series One card in 2001 tells a little bit of our Lion Story here at Newquay Zoo – Ronnie and Lizzy – our lions being a subject surely worth a future blogpost in itself.


Sadly I don’t think there was a Series Two of the Newquay Zoo Pocket Pictures. If there was, they sold out in our zoo shop before I could buy them.

Many thanks to Michelle Turton for permission to show these images – a tiny snapshot of Newquay Zoo 2001 – again.

Blogposted in July 2017 by Mark Norris  for the –   sharing tasty nuggets and tiny morsels of Newquay Zoo history as we head toward our 50th Anniversary in May 2019.

Got something interesting to share or celebrate about a past visit to Newquay Zoo since 1969? Contact Mark Norris  via the Comments page or via the website.










Where Raccoons once roamed in Newquay Zoo

Our Racoon moneybox on part of a ‘walk-through concrete tree stump’ that was part of the former Racoon enclosure.

Some of you might remember the wild Racoons that once used to live at Newquay Zoo.


Part of our former Racoon (now Meerkat) enclosure wall houses a curious concrete rocky cave with window dens that once housed young racoons.


For our October monthly blogpost from our Newquay Zoo archives, we look at our past racoon / raccoon enclosure. Now home to Meerkats, this enclosure was once home to Humboldt Penguins and briefly Capybaras, then Racoons.

One of the mementos  in our archive is a curious Racoon / dustbin moneybox combo.

Made of resin especially for our gift shop, probably few of these fragile items have survived the last 15 years.

Our racoon moneybox and a closer view of the strange rockwork wall.


Where meerkats now dig, racoons once washed their paws in a stream. The concrete stream bed is still visible, covered mostly in sand.


More Meerkat burrows under the old racoon stream bed and in the background the old racoon waterfall, now a useful sentry post  to the newest residents since 2009, our Meerkats.


But why the blue dustbin?

Enrichment has long been an important feature of looking after animals at Newquay Zoo.

A Racoon’s natural urban behaviour in America now involves raiding dustbins.

A flick through our press cuttings scrapbooks answers the question!



2001 a tough year but a good pic of racoons raiding enrichment dustbins for enrichment (pictured)

Feeding time was quite a thing to watch, although the racoons often seemed to sleep for much of the visitor day and bicker the rest.

We used to hide unusual food items for them to find in the blue enrichment dustbin and in their stream system that now provides an interesting burrow roof  for meerkat tunnels.

Racoons like to wash their food or catch food in water, their scientific name Procyon lotor based on a Native American name meaning ‘one who washes his paws’.

Pasties were occasional favourites to be hidden in the blue enrichment dustbin with the lid wedged on to make finding the food a little more  tricky.

Front cover stars of our Newquay Zoo Guidebook c. 2001/2 Photograph by Michelle Turton

Some of our Racoons had fairly wild or feral origins, escaped exotic pets that were brought in by the RSPCA, as these press cutting show.

Along with their Procyonid cousins the Red Pandas, they are notorious escape artists, being very clever or inquisitive  and very good climbers!



2002 another feral racoon joins us


2001/2 press cutting about one of our feral racoon’s origins.


If you come looking for racoons now at Newquay Zoo, you’re too late. Enrichment for our exotic and endangered animals continues, but the racoons have left.

Racoons were briefly first in the zoo from 1989-1996 then there were no more  until 1999. Over ten years our racoons moved off variously to Folly Farm Zoo Park, Combe Martin Wildlife Park and finally the last Racoons left for Beale Park in Hampshire, sometime around January 2009.

Out of the four Procyonid group of mammals that we once had at Newquay Zoo, Coatimundis, Kinkajous and Racoons have moved on but one important rare species remains – our Red Pandas who finally bred successfully in 2015/16. This long-awaited baby has moved off to another zoo to breed and the whole circle of conservation breeding carries on.

Posted by Mark Norris using information from the Newquay Zoo Archive and Press Cuttings books, Newquay Zoo, October 2016.