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12/09/2016, 17:00

Animals at the London Zoo hop on the scales for their annual weigh-in

The news is too heavy to hear. 

This week, zookeepers at the London Zoo are weighing all 17,000 animals in their care, and looks like a lot of fun.

For the annual weigh-in, the zoo must measure members of 712 species. Zookeepers resorting to a variety of tricks in order to get creatures of different temperaments and behaviors on the scale: Penguins waddle up to fetch fish treats, a tarantula is gently encouraged to tiptoe on the balance, and caretakers race to read the digital display faster than a monkey can snatch peanuts away.

Max, an eagle owl is weighed at the annual weigh-in at the London Zoo. 

“We have to know the vital statistics of every animal at the zoo—however big or small,” said Mark Habben, the London Zoo’s head manager in an official statement. “This information helps us to monitor their health and their diets and by sharing the information with other zoos and conservationists worldwide, we can use this knowledge to better care for all our animals.”

Habben told Reuters that their heaviest animal is a giraffe weighing close to 860 kg (1,896 lb). The lightest is a leaf-cutter that weighs less than a gram.

All weight and size information gets recorded in the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), a database shared with zoos worldwide to monitor the wellbeing of different species around the world.

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