The annual stocktake at the Horniman Museum & Gardens in Forest Hill, south east London, isn’t quite as simple as 1,2,3, since it involves counting furry, finned and flying residents from fish to bees and even a cheeky alpaca.
The Horniman Museum and Gardens opened in 1901 as a gift to the people from tea trader and philanthropist Frederick John Horniman. Today the Horniman has a collection of 350,000 objects, specimens and artefacts from around the world. Its galleries include natural history, music and an acclaimed aquarium, as well as display gardens set among 16 acres of green space.
The count – an annual requirement of the attraction’s zoo licence – requires a different technique for each type of creature (feeding-time helps enormously). The Horniman has released a series of photos documenting the stocktake and the animal antics that helped or hindered the count…
These common starfish have even done the count themselves (with a little help from their favourite food, clams, inside the numbers)
It pays to search everywhere. Thankfully keepers spotted this reluctant guinea pig’s hiding place
Some species are harder to find than others, thanks to their camouflage, like these three Amazon milk frogs
This cute line-up of tiny harvest-mice can be hard to spot, unless of course it’s lunchtime
The black star northern sea nettle jellyfish should be easy to count, but they’re so mesmerising it can be difficult to concentrate…
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!
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
All images courtesy The Horniman Museum & Gardens