A family of gigantic pterosaurs, have soared into the grounds of West Midland Safari Park and made it their new home, just in time for half term.
With a wingspan averaging around 11 metres, quetzalcoatlus was the largest animal to have ever taken to the skies. It was so tall, it could have looked a giraffe in the eye and had the ability to walk on all fours, using its gigantic folded wings as front limbs.
Scientists have debated how a creature as large as a private plane, could have ever flown. It was believed that they had hollow, lightweight bones and powerful forelimbs which helped them to catapult themselves into the air. Once airborne, they would use their large wings to soar, using air thermals to keep them aloft.
Head Dinosaur Keeper, Emily Brooks said, “The addition of a group of new pterosaurs to our large group of dinosaurs is very exciting but is going to have its challenges! We are working very hard to build a comfortable home for our new residents, but quetzalcoatlus are three times bigger than a human, have a ginormous wingspan and can travel thousands of miles at a time, so if they do decide to go for a wander, there’s not a huge amount we can do to stop them!”
She continued, “Our dinosaur keepers have been given specialist training to care for the largest known flying animal of all time and we have a mountain of food ready so they don’t get tempted to have a nibble on some of our smaller dinosaurs. We’re excited and a little nervous, but we are ready!”
Quetzalcoatlus would have ruled the skies of what is now North America, during the Cretaceous period. So it is very likely that it would have passed over the heads of pre-historic giants such as spinosaurus, triceratops and tyrannosaurus rex.
Like its 38 new companions, the family of quetzalcoatlus are animatronic, with moving eyes, mouth, neck, and head which are accompanied by life-like noises, creating the experience of what it would have been like to walk amongst these pre-historic beasts.
To celebrate the arrival of the new family and the start of the summer season, the Park is hosting ‘Explorers Half Term’. The two-week event invites families to bring their little explorers to the Park to take part in a whole host of exciting activities, such as a quest to find the quetzalcoatlus’s missing egg.
Land of the Living Dinosaurs reopens with the rest of the Park for their summer season on 11 February 2017 and starts with Explorers Half Term. This is included in the standard admission charge of £23.00 for adults, £18.00 for children aged 3-15 and £21.00 for concessions. Admission includes a voucher for a return ticket or safari gift. Theme Park rides are charged extra. Prices include Explorers Half Term activities, such as a Dinosaur Explorer Craft Club, Twilight Cave feeds, Dinosaur Explorer Trail and a Facebook photo competition.