A zoo in Sussex has made its list and checked it twice, and announced just who of their animals has been naughty or nice!

Like all parents, zookeepers at Drusillas Zoo Park lovingly care for their furry children every day. Much like our own children, no two animals are the same, each with individual personalities and quirks, meaning much of the keepers’ time is spent getting to know the 800 animal residents’ different behaviours.

Keepers were proud to report that (almost) all the animals secured themselves a spot in the good books all year round. But they’ve also reported that a few of the cheeky antics over the last 12 months just couldn’t be overlooked, so it’s the naughty list for them!

Head keeper, Gemma Romanis, commented: “Of course, none of our animals are actually ‘naughty’ in the way we tend to use the word for humans, but some of them definitely have stronger personalities and don’t like to play by the rules, so for a bit of festive fun our tradition is for the team to vote on the lists – and no one was really surprised with the outright ‘naughty’ winner this year!”

Drusillas have now released their official animal naughty and nice list for Christmas 2023, from naughtiest to nicest – do you agree with the decisions, or should they be forgiven?

THE NAUGHTY LIST

Lintang the Sulawesi Crested Black Macaque: Firmly claiming the top spot (with a landslide vote!), feisty lady Lintang has been up to all kinds of mischief this year and doesn’t show any signs of stopping. From destroying enrichment items and impatiently banging walls when she wants something, to disrupting training sessions and bossing around her boyfriend, Lintang is a beautiful force of nature who does things her own way – if she was a human, she’d definitely be the CEO!

Floyd the pygmy goat: New to the Drusillas family at the beginning of the year, Floyd won hearts immediately with his ‘butter-wouldn’t-melt’ good looks – but don’t be fooled, this headstrong boy loves to cause utter chaos whenever possible. Keeper votes came in strong largely due to his ‘whirlwind’ manoeuvre whenever he and his goat friends are walked to their field each night, using his head and horns to take out anything (and anyone) in his path.

Shadow the black lemur: A repeat offender, Shadow is no stranger to being on the naughty list with his previous reputation as the Park’s ‘pickpocket’ after rifling in visitors’ bags. This year he’s started a new habit of stealing food from the rest of the lemur gang, and even sometimes grabbing the food bowl out of keepers’ hands. As the only son of group leader Clementine, maybe it’s not his fault that he’s not very good at sharing!

Chop the coati: Chop’s cutelittle scrunchy nose has been leading him into all kinds of trouble, as another food stealer takes a spot on the naughty list. Chop seems to have forgotten his table manners this year, snatching away all the tastiest treats for himself and not leaving his little family a chance to get a look in on the goods.

Pedro the colobus monkey: At less than a year old, it’s hard to believe that adorable little Pedro could be on the naughty list, but there’s one thing he just cannot stop doing – swinging from the tails of his siblings! It seems Pedro has decided the world (and everyone in it) is his playground, and keepers are sure his favourite pastime is not shared by his family! Still, we can’t be too mad though… just look at him.

THE NICE LIST

Roxy the Bactrian camel: Roxy takes a place on the nice list this year for many reasons; always well-behaved, sweet with her keepers, and loving to her partner Lofty – but the main reason she was voted in this year was for cheering everyone up with her dance moves! Whenever Roxy is feeling cheerful (which is most days) she loves to express herself by jumping around and swinging her legs in all directions. It never fails to put a smile on our faces, even on the greyest of days.

Maverick the dwarf mongoose: It’s not easy to go from the first born only-child to one of six in the space of a year, but lovely Maverick has really stepped up to the mark of big sister. She always helps mum out with the younger ones, playing with them, teaching them, and comforting them, and helps to gently keep everyone in check making her keepers very proud indeed.

Isla the red-handed tamarin: Isla became a mum for the first time last year, after sadly losing her first born during child-birth. But, watching her sweetly care for her rainbow baby, Bowie, has been a joy for all. Isla is patient, fun, and protective of her bubba, always good for her keepers, and even makes time to regularly cuddle up with her partner Tiwa – some mums can just do it all!

Halina the sloth: Halina is one of the Park’s true sweethearts, and this year she made everyone’s dreams come true when she brought new baby Echo into the world and proved herself to be a superb mama. She’s also starred in TV shows, made international press, and met celebrities this year, and even raised over £7,000 for sloths in the wild – the goodest of girls.

Clementine the capybara: Long-time resident Clementine was the clear winner for this year’s nice list, with all the keepers cooing over how sweetly and lovingly she’s cared for her new triplet babies born in September. It’s no mean feat to add three boisterous youngsters all in one go, but Clementine makes it look easy. There was a time keepers never thought she would start a family at all, so it’s one of the zoo’s greatest success stories. Team that with always taking the time to give keepers a gentle nuzzle to say hello, it’s easy to see why she’s taken the title of nicest of the nice!