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Horniman’s animal stocktake – in pictures

Counting your stock should be as simple as 1, 2, 3 or ABC – but when that stands for alpacas, bees and a coral reef, things get a little trickier, as the animal keepers at the Horniman know well.

The annual stocktake of our animals involves counting furry, finned and flying residents including fish, frogs and jellyfish in the Aquarium; rabbits and guinea pigs in the Animal Walk; and harvest mice and bees in the Nature Base gallery.

The count – an annual requirement of the Horniman’s zoo licence – requires a different technique for each type of creature, although feeding-time often plays a part.

Poppy the alpaca is so keen to be counted that her mum Peep doesn’t get a look in. It’s clear who’s the star attraction in the Horniman Animal Walk.

The simplest way to count creatures that don’t keep still – like the fish in the Horniman Aquarium’s coral reef tank – is to add some feed to the tank to encourage shyer species out into the open, snap a pic and then count the fish in the photo.

Luckily the Nature Base indoor beehive is counted as one colony so there’s no need to figure out how many bees there are – but the grid marked on the glass walls of the hive means visitors can have a go at their own bee-count.

Feeding-time makes counting the rabbits a piece of cake – so, a table for five, please, for these fluffy friends!

This cute line-up of tiny harvest-mice can be hard to spot, unless of course it’s lunchtime.

Some species are harder to find than others, thanks to their camouflage, like these three Amazon milk frogs.

It pays to search everywhere. Thankfully keepers spotted this reluctant guinea pig’s hiding place.

Some creatures make the stocktake simple – this yellow tang appears to be helping to count the baby corals, part of the Horniman’s Project Coral research.

These common starfish have even done the count themselves (with a little help from their favourite food, clams, inside the numbers).

The black star northern sea nettle jellyfish should be easy to count, but they’re so mesmerising it can be difficult to concentrate…

Visit the Horniman and see the living animals in our Nature Base, our Aquarium and our Animal Walk.