Meet Bob the burrowing owl, London Zoo’s answer to Usain Bolt. He might not look much, but he looks set to star in the zoo’s Animal Athletes in Action programme that runs throughout London 2012.
And while he might get in a flap against the Olympic 100 metres champion, over 100 centimetres he’s really rather rapid.
Bob doesn’t have the world’s most fluid running style, with wings and legs akimbo; it’s all about speed over style for this small speedster.
Keeper Jamie Pearce said: “Bob is without doubt the star of Animal Athletes in Action and he’d give any Olympic athlete a run for their money. Although Bob has a funny running style, he’s actually quite fast and, in fact, he is showing off a completely natural sporting talent.”
He explained: “Burrowing owls are very unusual in that they live in holes in the ground. They’ve adapted to run on land and they use their sprinting abilities to escape from predators.
“Although Bob doesn’t have any predators at the zoo he still enjoys showing off his natural behaviour.”
However, Bob will not be the only attraction at the zoo during the Olympics – visitors can also check out the diving skills of penguins, weightlifting bugs, monkey gymnasts and much more.
- Visit the ZSL London Zoo website for more on Animal Athletes in Action.