Naples, Fla. – While guests to Naples Zoo can see the tallest animals in the world that stroll the plains of Africa or the giant reptiles that bask in our Florida sun, the Zoo’s newest arrivals are a bit on the small side. And they’re meant to be.
They are called miniature zebus.
This naturally tiny cattle’s ancestry dates back to India where they were believed to have been domesticated some six thousand years ago. Over the years, they were spread across the world.
Naples Zoo’s two new zebu calves trace their lineage to Africa and they are as cute as they are small. Zebus have a large flap of skin under their neck and a hump between the shoulder blades.
The Zoo’s two new miniature zebu were born this past spring and recently arrived at the Zoo. Miniature zebus reach a maximum height of 42” just behind the hump on their back although many are far shorter.
The father of the Zoo’s new boy zebu tops out at just 30”. While the cattle we see in fields while driving the country often tip the scales between 1,250 and 1,800 pounds, a miniature zebu can weigh as little as 300 pounds with bulls sometimes reaching just 600 pounds.
Their small size makes them ideal for locations with limited space and resources which has made them popular in many dry rural areas on our planet. Zebus are also resistant to disease that has wiped out other cattle species and have a high resistance to heat. And when food and water is scarce, they can live off the fat and muscle stored in their hump.
They do not moo or bellow like other cattle. They make grunting sounds instead.
Naples Zoo welcomes guests daily from 9:00 to 5:00 with the last ticket sold at 4:00 and is located at 1590 Goodlette-Frank Road across from the Coastland Center mall in the heart of Naples. For more, visit www.napleszoo.org, call (239) 262-5409, or click www.twitter.com/NaplesZoo and www.facebook.com/napleszoo and www.youtube.com/napleszoo.