Whether you have feathers, fur or flippers — or none of the above — regular exercise is an important part of maintaining a heatlhy lifestyle. That's why zookeepers provide animals with toys and habitats to stimulate them and encourage physical activity. But, like people, some animals require special care, so in these cases, zookeepers design custom fitness routines to keep their critters in the best possible shape. Here are six videos of animal workouts to inspire you to get fit.
A healthy walrus can weigh more than a ton, but these creatures still have to work out to maintain their flippered physique. Watch as this one does stretches, push-ups and sit-ups with the help of his very own personal trainer.
Eddie the otter can often be seen dunking a small basketball into a hoop at his pool at the Oregon Zoo. At the age of 16, he's considered geriatric, and he suffers from arthritis in his elbows, so zookeepers designed him an exercise routine that utilizes movement in his front paws. Otters are very dexterous, often using rocks as tools to crack open shells, so Eddie took to basketball quickly. Keeper Jenny DeGroot says Eddie was dunking baskets the same week she taught him the game.
A cheetah's impressive speed — the cat can go from 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds — is its survival technique. The felines can reach top speeds of 60 to 70 mph, but they can run that fast for only 20 to 30 seconds — any longer and the animal puts itself at serious risk of death. However, the average healthy cheetah chase in the wild is only 200 to 300 meters, so zookeepers at the Houston Zoo replicate this by giving their cheetahs the chance to chase "prey" at the Sam Houston Race Park.
Sugar glider weight loss
Pepper the sugar glider was donated to the Philadelphia Zoo in 2008, but the tiny critter — who weighed in at 240 grams — was 130 grams overweight due to poor nutrition, so zookeepers designed him a special diet and exercise routine.
Sprout, a Bornean orangutan, was born at the Dudley Zoological Gardens in England in 2010. Orangutans spend most of their lives moving through the trees in search of fruit, so it's important for them to stay healthy and limber. Watch as a 21-month-old Sprout mimics this natural behavior as he climbs, swings and plays in his zoo enclosure.
Big cat rugby
Rugby can be a rough game full of tackles and hard hits — but just wait till you see a group of lions play it.
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