SEVENTY-six Madagascan hissing cockroaches, three elephants and six gorillas are just some of the results of an annual animal count at Blackpool Zoo.
Staff at the Marton attraction are being kept busy with the animal census which needs to be completed by all zoos in the country by the end of the month as part of national regulations.
The zoo keepers in Blackpool are ahead of the game and have been keeping records of all the births, sales and deaths throughout the year.
But this year insects are involved in the census for the first time, making counting more tricky as staff try to get a hold of the zoo’s many creepy crawlies, including spiders, praying mantis and stick insects.
Head keeper Luke Minns has been overseeing the counting – which includes last year’s new arrivals of a baby zebra and a baby gorilla.
He said: “Our records are kept up to date so it’s just a matter of double checking them at the end of the year.
“Most of our large animals are really quite easy to keep track of, but some of the wild fowl in the lakes hide under bushes and take a bit to count, and we have a lot of insects which makes things harder.
“It’s just a case of getting in there and moving the cage around to make it easier for us to count them.”
The annual count is a legal requirement of having a zoo licence and once verified, figures will be sent to the International Species Information System.