Drusillas wants to see a lot less of grub-gobbling Rio

Fond of his food: Rio, the ring-tailed coati
Fond of his food: Rio, the ring-tailed coati

It’s not just we humans that have to count the calories after eating more than our festive fair share - sometimes our four-legged friends need to watch their waistlines too.

At Drusillas Park in Alfriston, Head Keeper Mark Kenward is responsible for monitoring animal diets and making adjustments to food plans where necessary and one rotund resident in particular has recently attracted his attention.

Rio the ring-tailed coati has piled on a few extra pounds during the holidays so Mark has put him on a new diet and detox plan to get 2017 off to the best possible start.

Rio shares an enclosure with his girlfriend Sophia. The pair arrived at the award-winning zoo in East Sussex last year, from Curraghs Zoo on the Isle of Man, and have won the hearts of staff since their arrival.

Initially weighing in at 6kg, the keepers worked hard to banish the bulge and their efforts paid off when he lost an impressive 30g. However, since then his health regime has encountered a bit of a hiccup, with Rio recently tipping the scales at 6.69kg – that’s about a kilo over his optimum weight.

In the wild, coatis are found in forest wetland and arid areas of North America and South America including Brazil and are members of the racoon family. They are excellent climbers; their ankles are double jointed and turn 180 degrees.

Head Keeper Mark said, “Rio enjoys his food and has a very healthy appetite but he has a habit of gobbling up all the grub and leaving limited leftovers for Sophia.

“We have therefore made a few adjustments to his diet and introduced some fat-fighting fayre including mixed nuts, insects, sweet potato, peas, butternut squash, broccoli, chicory, tomato, carrot, courgette, pulses, trio munch biscuits and chicken.

“We are not unduly concerned at the moment but we will be monitoring the situation closely over the coming months and doing all we can to ensure Rio remains happy and healthy.”

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