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The Butterfly Safari, early June 1986. Opening day was June 14th. The Butterfly Safari lasted for some time but began to be quite expensive to run. Alternative plans were thought about including a miniature golf-course (crazy golf), a nightclub and even a safari containing only deadly animals which was going to be called Living Death. Thankfully, none of these ideas were put forth in action.
Nigel, Mike and John near the koi carp pond.
Constructing the animal enclosures. The butterfly safari also held a variety of other animals including lemurs, coatimundis, exotic insects, giant millipedes, boa constrictor snakes and emperor scorpions.
Really, the best thing about the butterfly safari was the vegetation, the stream and the layout with its meandering paths and bridges.
Keeping exotic butterflies was an expensive affair. Pupae had to be flown in from overseas and then they were hatched within the safari. The right temperature and humidity had to be maintained. It proved to be very costly so we began to dispense with the exotic butterflies and concentrated solely on British or temperate-climate butterflies.
Here’s one of the animal enclosures, I believe the coatimundis lived here if I recall. Towards the back behind the wall with straw we kept the snakes, spiders and all the other creepy crawlies. Amazingly someone decided to steal a pair of our small boa constrictors from its enclosure. Little did they know that these boas were quite untame and were prone to biting with little or no provocation. Funny enough, they were returned safely back to their enclosures! We also had a gentleman working for us by the name of Dave. We called him Chauncey after the character in the film Being There. This was the only individual who had no issues with picking up any of the creepy crawlies by hand. He never seemed to get bitten or stung.
The central stream and pond was a nice feature in the butterfly safari.
Koi carp in the central stream. Again, we found that there were a few enterprising individuals trying to steal koi carp out of hours.
Oh yes. We also had a raccoon.
Ring-tailed lemur. This one was called Sasha but everyone else called her Slasher because nobody dared enter the enclosure without a helmet on. She was quite aggresive and had no qualms about attacking an intruder in the enclosure. One of Colin’s unpleasant jobs was to tend to Sasha.
I don’t know the names of many of these butterflies
The Atlas Moth
The Monarch, the only one we managed to breed because we had the food plant milkwort (Asclepias) growing.
More tropical species. Pupae were flown in regularly and hatched out on site.