WEIGH OF LIFE

Photos: Animals at the London Zoo hop on the scales for their annual weigh-in

This week, zookeepers at the London Zoo are weighing all 17,000 animals in their care, and looks like a lot of fun.

For the annual weigh-in, the zoo must measure members of 712 species. Photos taken Aug. 24 show zookeepers resorting to a variety of tricks in order to get creatures of different temperaments and behaviors on the scale: Penguins waddle up to fetch fish treats, a tarantula is gently encouraged to tiptoe on the balance, and caretakers race to read the digital display faster than a monkey can snatch peanuts away.

London Zoo annual animal weigh-in
Max, an eagle owl is weighed at the annual weigh-in at the London Zoo. (EPA/Hannah Mckay)

“We have to know the vital statistics of every animal at the zoo—however big or small,” said Mark Habben, the London Zoo’s head manager in an official statement. “This information helps us to monitor their health and their diets and by sharing the information with other zoos and conservationists worldwide, we can use this knowledge to better care for all our animals.”

Habben told Reuters that their heaviest animal is a giraffe weighing close to 860 kg (1,896 lb). The lightest is a leaf-cutter that weighs less than a gram.

All weight and size information gets recorded in the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), a database shared with zoos worldwide to monitor the wellbeing of different species around the world.

An Asiatic lion stands by a measuring ruler during the annual weight-in at London Zoo in London
An Asiatic lion stands by a measuring ruler. (Reuters/Neil Hall)
A Humboldt penguin jump off scales during the annual weight-in at London Zoo in London
A Humboldt penguin jump off scales. (Reuters/Neil Hall)
A Sumatran tiger is enticed by meat during the annual weight-in at London Zoo in London
A Sumatran tiger is enticed by meat. (Reuters/Neil Hall)
London Zoo annual animal weigh-in
A Humboldt penguin stands on weighing scales, in front of her admirers. (EPA/Hannah Mckay)
London Zoo annual animal weigh-in
Agatha the red-kneed spider going on the scale. (EPA/Hannah Mckay)
London Zoo annual animal weigh-in
A squirrel monkey.(EPA/Hannah Mckay)

And a few more from years past:

Britain Zoo Annual Weigh
Perry the Llama gets measured at London Zoo in 2014. (AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Britain Zoo Annual Weigh
A keeper attempts to weigh Cid, a red-ruffed lemur in 2014. (AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
"Kimbuka", a western lowland gorilla holds a height chart that was placed in his enclosure at London Zoo
The honors system: “Kimbuka,” a western lowland gorilla, holds a height chart in 2014. (Reuters/Toby Melville)
Britain Zoo Weigh In
A giant African bull frog sits on a scale during the 2013 weigh-in. The result: 400 grams. (AP/Sang Tan)
London Zoo weigh in
A waxy monkey leaf frog gets weighed in 2013. (EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga)
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