Among the zoo's residents are some hoofed pasture animals - feral pigs, horses, Zebu, donkeys, sheep and goats.
Feral pig - Sus scrofa
The pigs at the zoo are feral. A feral animal is a domestic animal living in a wild state, for one or many generations. Feral pigs live throughout the state and are considered a nuisance by many people, a treasure to some, and fair game to others. The responsibility for their control and removal falls to the California Department of Fish and Game. Some feral populations of pigs have crossbred with European wild boars that were once released in California for sporting purposes.
Pigs use their unique snouts to root in the ground for insects, grubs, bulbs and roots. They eat leaves, nuts, eggs, small animals and carrion. Pigs don't sweat, so during warm weather they enjoy a wallow in mud to keep cool.
Premarin Foal Rescue Program
The Zoo began a Premarin foal rescue program in the summer of 1999. These animals are “byproducts” of a business that collects urine from pregnant mares to produce a synthetic form of estrogen replacement drugs. Premarin and Prempro are two of the most common of the drugs even though plant-based alternatives are available.
The mares spend their lives stalled in “pee lines” with a catheter and urine collection bag attached to them at all times. Each year, thousands of “byproduct” foals are born at Canadian farms. While a few of these foals find homes, most are sold for meat. Our position is one of education. The Zoo is not condemning anyone who takes Premarin or any other hormone replacement drug. That decision should be made between a woman and her care provider.
A hand is a length measurement originally based on the breadth of a male human hand and now standardized to 4”. A horse is measured in hands from the ground to the top of the withers (shoulders.) A horse that is “15 two hands high (15.2hh) is 62” tall.
◦ Mare – Adult female horse 3+ years
◦ Gelding – Castrated male horse 3+ years
◦ Stallion – Non-castrated male horse 3+ years
◦ Pony – Full grown horse 14.2 hands and under
◦ Foal – Newborn horse ◦ Yearling – Horse between 1 and 2 years
◦ Colt – Male horse less than 3 years
◦ Filly – Female horse less than 3 years
Africa is the original home of these beautifully marked sheep. While most sheep have wool, Barbados sheep are “hair” sheep and shed seasonally and while they may grow a wooly undercoat, you’ll see them shedding as the temperatures rise.
While they are primarily raised for meat and as brush eaters, in this area they are more commonly kept as pets. These sheep help with our clearing of brush in the expansion area.
In the 1600’s, some were imported from the Island of Barbados. In 1904 the USDA imported a small flock to Maryland, which probably formed the basis of Barbados flocks in the U.S.
Zebu are an old and rare breed of cattle. They originated in India and are found in Africa and South Asia. Naturally small (42” at shoulder), Zebu have distinctive shoulder humps, droopy ears, and large dewlaps. Weight ranges up to 500 pounds. Zebu are raised for hides, draft animals, and crossbred with meat cattle. Easy-going, disease and parasite resistant, and comfortable in hot weather they are appealing pets.
Miniature donkeys are native to the Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Almost extinct in their native land, they’ve been bred with animals in the U.S. for a distinctively American breed. The Miniature Mediterranean Donkey is by nature friendly, affectionate, and gentle. Size varies from 26 inches (very small) to 36 inches at the withers (top of the shoulder). Most will have a “cross” or shoulder stripe. Males are jacks; females are jennys. With good care, they are a “lifetime pet” living 30-35 years.