Friday, March 05, 2021
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News from the City!

New Animal Babies Help Celebrate the

60thAnniversary of the Charles Paddock Zoo!

by City Manager Rachelle Rickard

We’re very proud to announce several new arrivals at the Charles Paddock Zoo!

In late June, a second new Caribbean Flamingo chick successfully hatched at the Zoo, joining its fellow hatchling which arrived on Memorial Day, and which was the first ever flamingo chick hatched at the Zoo.

A small group of Caribbean Flamingos has been exhibited for many years in several different areas of the Zoo. Flamingos don’t usually breed unless they reach a large number in the flock. In 2013, our flamingo group was moved to their new and larger exhibit near the Zoo entrance; in addition, the flock was increased by a dozen birds which we acquired from the Hollywood Park Raceway when it closed. These changes have apparently resulted in the first two flamingo chicks to hatch at the Charles Paddock Zoo. Since scientists believe that breeding and nesting activity only takes place in large flamingo flocks, the mating, nesting and now two successful hatches in our small flock of flamingos was somewhat unexpected, but we’re very pleased. Both chicks can now be found either in or near their nests alongside a watchful parent, or standing near the pond in the Zoo’s Flamingo Exhibit.

In addition to our two new flamingo hatchlings, we’re also very proud to announce the arrival of a new baby Prehensile-Tailed Porcupine! The Zoo has exhibited Prehensile-tailed porcupines (Coendou prehensilis) for more than 15 years. We have had several births at the Zoo in the past, but this is the firstborn for our current mating pair. Baby porcupines are covered with fine, red colored hair when they are born; the quills start to develop and harden up in the first few days. The mother often leaves the baby by itself and will return only to nurse it periodically. Almost immediately after the baby porcupine is born, it can climb and move on its own. Our new baby porcupine is often visible to the public. When he’s not napping, he can usually be seen lounging on a branch in the Porcupine Exhibit.

We’re so very pleased to have these new animal babies join our exhibits at the Charles Paddock Zoo as we celebrate the Zoo’s 60th Anniversary! Zoo Ranger Charles Paddock first started his collection of rescued animals back in 1955, beginning what came to be known at the time as the Atascadero Children’s Zoo. In recognition of the Zoo’s 60th year, we’re planning a big “birthday bash” celebration over Labor Day weekend, September 5th-6th. We expect to surprise the animals with birthday gifts which they’ll unwrap to get to their birthday treats. Much more detail about the Zoo’s 60th birthday celebration will be available in the coming weeks, but mark your calendars now. There’s always something new and exciting happening at the Charles Paddock Zoo!

If you would like more information about this or another City government related topic, please contact me at, or 470-3400.


Category: Latest News

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