When you visit Turpentine, you might notice some differences in the habitats that our animal residents call home. We have three different types of habitats here that are built to house certain species.
First, we have our basic big cat habitat. These habitats are large. The fencing is 12 ft high with a 3 ft jump guard. This is USDA regulation. This fencing ensures that none of our big cats can get out of their habitats. Big cats like tigers and lions aren’t physically built to jump vertically; they are too heavy to clear that 15 ft height. These habitats will have one or two nighthouses with dens attached. Dens for our lions and our older cats are heated during the winter. They generally hold one or two big cats, depending on the situation. In certain cases, we’ve had four big cats living together!
Second, we have our small cat habitat. These habitats are smaller and taller. They have roofs over the top because they are built for cats that jump and climb. Our servals can jump up to 10 ft in the air and catch birds mid-flight. Leopards and jaguars can climb trees and can carry 3-5 times their weight up a tree. These habitats are built to give them lots of room to move, jump, and climb, like they would in the wild. These habitats are often attached to a building. This building is heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. Our bobcat habitats are built to give them many hiding places, like they would use in the wild. These habitats can hold more than one or two cats; our biggest serval habitat currently houses five cats!
Our last habitat is built for bears! Bears are both climbers and diggers, so their habitats need some additional safety measures. All of our bear habitats have electric fencing. Our black bears are incredible climbers, so the electric fencing prevents them from scaling the fence. Down at Rescue Ridge, in our all-natural bear habitats, the electric shock gets more intense going up the fencing. For our brown bears, they like to dig. So we have fencing and cement going into the ground, preventing them from digging out of their habitat. Our bears also have nighthouses and dens, which is important for their winter hibernation. Our Rescue Ridge all-natural habitats can hold several bears; the larger one currently has three bears and the smaller one has two bears.
The way our habitats are designed allows us to make sure each species we hold has their specific needs catered to. It also ensures that our animals have a safe and comfortable place to live. Our animals spend their lives with us and we want to give them the longest, healthiest, and happiest lives we can, starting with their living space. So next time you visit, see if you can spot all three types of habitats!