Equus caballus ShireHorses forweb1


  • Equidae

Common Names

  • Shire Horse


  • Captivity: 25-30 years
  • Highest recorded: 61 years


  • Height at shoulder: Average 5.7 feet


  • The Shire horse breed originates in England


  • In the wild: Wild grasses
  • At the zoo: Timothy/alfalfa hay daily with grain, treats, and fresh produce as enrichment or reward.

Special adaptations

  • Draught horses are known for their potential as beasts of burden.

Interesting facts

  • Shire horses were a highly used horse throughout Europe up until World War I and II. After these wars improvements in mechanization caused demand for these horses to drop, a population of 550,000 in 1939 to a population of around 5000 in 1972, near extinction.
  • They boast a proud heritage in the middle ages. The “Great War Horses” these horses are descended from are said to be those that Roman armies of antiquity and English heavily armored knights of the middle ages rode into battle. These knights in full plate armor often weighed in excess of 400lbs!

Conservation status

  • CITES –Appendix I
  • IUCN –Not Evaluated


  1. Appendices I, II, and III of CITES. (February 5, 2015) Accessed January 2016. http://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.php
  2. Cotebrook and Country Park Shire Horse Centre. Shire Horse History. Accessed March 31, 2016.http://www.cotebrookshirehorses.co.uk/p/207/Shire_Horse_History
  3. Encyclopedia of Life. Horses. Accessed Feb 2016. http://www.eol.org/pages/328648/details
  4. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (2015) Accessed January 2016. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/search
  5. Oklahoma State University, Breeds of Livestock – Shire Horses. Accessed March 31, 2016.http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/horses/shire/


The Saginaw Children's Zoo at Celebration Square has a couple of new NEIGH-bors waiting to meet you!

Last Wednesday, April 6th, a chilly and rainy evening was brightened by the arrival of two baby Shire horses. Perfectly named for the time of year, half-sisters April Dawn and May Flowers Fancy have moved into the former Clydesdale exhibit. Friendly, curious, and playful, the zoo believes that these two will be a BIG hit with the community.

ShireHorses forweb1

April Dawn, born April 28th, 2015, and May Flowers Fancy, born May 31st, 2015, have traveled to Saginaw from a family farm in Darlington, Missouri. These two have some mighty big hooves to fill--Bonnie and Josie were the two lovely Clydesdale ladies who lived in the yard for almost 10 years. After many years of bringing joy to boys and girls of all ages, the two passed away due to age related ailments. Based on their outgoing and friendly nature, April Dawn and May Flowers Fancy seem like just the right horses to move into the exhibit and take over the job of brightening the lives of those they meet.

Shire horses are considered “big” for draft horses--the breed has held world records in both largest overall horse and tallest horse at various times throughout history. Despite only being a year old, April Dawn and May Flowers Fancy will have no problem reaching over the fence to greet you and your family. They both are black in color, with a white blaze down their noses. May Flowers Fancy has an extra streak of white down her side, making it easy for visitors to tell the two apart.

Children's Zoo members are invited to be the first to meet these gentle giants during our Members Only Weekend, April 16th and 17th, from 10:00am - 5:00pm. The general public can come nose-to-nose with April Dawn and May Flowers Fancy when we open to the public starting April 23rd, 10:00am – 5:00pm.

Stay up-to-date on everything zoo at our Facebook page!


Join us for our brand new early childhood education toddler program! We are excited to introduce Hatchlings, a hands on play and exploration time just for 2-4 year olds and an accompanying adult. During this 60 minute program we will sing songs, explore our senses, visit animal friends, and have a yummy snack! Meet new human friends to explore the zoo with afterwards!

Each program starts at 11am and will run for approximately an hour and include a combination of games, crafts, story time, sing-a-longs, and animal friend visits. These programs are specifically designed to promote hands on, self guided play and exploration.

Program price includes admission into the zoo for a child and an adult, a snack, and activities.

General Price - $15
Member Price - $11
Additional Child* - $5
* No more than 2 children per adult.

There are a limited number of spots available in each program, so register early!

June 2nd - On the Move
Can you hop like a rabbit or crawl like a turtle? Visit with animal favorites and play as we practice moving like animals!

June 23 – Animal Noises
Join us for story time and practice your animal noises. Visit with animals friends who can make sounds just like you! Start a band and sing a long to fun!

July 7 – Growth Spurts
Explore our children’s garden while we learn about how plants grow! Help us plant seeds and water our plants!

July 21 – Water Bugs  
Explore the wonderful world of water by playing in our sensory pools. 

August 4 – Tiny Artists
Show off your artistic talents by creating nature themed art work! Explore different paint brushes, or play with your hands! Make a masterpiece to take home with you!

August 18 - Taking Shape
Explore different shapes and colors using nature as our guide! Practice making shapes with sticks, rocks, leaves, and flowers.

Download the Registration Form for 2016


Children's Zoo is FELINE great about new wild cat residents!

With tiny paws and big attitudes, the zoo's newest feline residents may be small, but they sure are mighty. Meeka and Tut are two black-footed cats, a species of wild cat found in Africa. Although they average only six pounds as an adult, don't let their small size fool you! These tenacious cats are fierce predators in the wild African grasslands and deserts, often hunting over ten prey items a night! Meeka website

Meeka is an eight year old female and Tut is an eight and a half year old male. They arrived late last year from the Birmingham Zoo, and have settled in nicely in the former serval exhibit down by the barnyard. 

For a black-footed cat, Tut is very laid back. While he may still give animal care staff a sassy hiss once in a while, he often spends his days lounging inside a log. Meeka, on the other hand, has some attitude! Between the two of them, Meeka is definitely the boss. She is independent and highly intelligent, excelling at her training. The two enjoy snacking on mice and playing with snake sheds, as well as scratching their claws against a large log. 

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the black-footed cat species is considered to be “vulnerable.” This means that their wild populations are on the decline heading toward becoming endangered and, if something is not done to remedy the problems they face, the species may go extinct. Black-footed cats face population pressures due to habitat destruction and degradation, threats from hunters, and poison traps set for other predators.  While populations in Botswana and South Africa are protected by law making it illegal to hunt them, many factors contribute to continued population decline. While Meeka and Tut are not currently a breeding pair, the two have been in the past, and may become one in the future.

Stay up-to-date on everything zoo at our Facebook page!


Tut website

African Pygmy Goats

Capra hircus

Meet The Pygmy Goats
Flash Fraser
Flash Fraser
Conservation Status
CITES –Appendix III
IUCN –Not Evaluated


  • Bovidae


  • 10-15 years


  • Height at shoulder: Male 17-22 inches Female 17-21 inches
  • Weight: About 35 pounds


  • This breed originated in the Cameroon valley of Africa, where it was first domesticated
  • Because they are domesticated, pygmy goats can be found most places there are humans


  • Ruminants
  • In the wild: Grasses, herbs, lichens, and other plant matter
  • At the zoo: Mazuri goat chow, timothy/alfalfa hay, and grain



  • Twins are typically born, single and triple births being the next common
  • Gestation lasts about 150 days

Special adaptations

  • Pygmy goats are much shorter in stature than other domestic goats
  • Females produce a formidable amount of milk for their size
  • Goats, as well as most ruminants, have horizontal pupils!
  • Those things on Fraser's neck are called wattles. Similar to a chicken's wattle, goats and pigs are the only mammals that can develop them.


  1. Agriculture.com Specialty Livestock: African Pygmy Goats (2010). Accessed January 2016. http://www.agriculture.com/livestock/speciality-livestock/pygmy-goat-profile_293-ar13324
  2. Appendices I, II, and III of CITES. (February 5, 2015) Accessed January 2016. http://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.php
  3. Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed January 2016. http://www.eol.org/pages/328660/details
  4. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (2015) Accessed January 2016. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/search