Paignton Zoo has turned to a local company to help with a weighty matter.

Keepers wanted to install a set of scales in the den of their Western lowland gorillas. But, as Senior Head Keeper of Mammals Matthew Webb explained, not just any scales would do:

“You can’t use normal scales with gorillas, because they will play with them - which usually means they will break them! We needed to find some really heavy duty bench scales that we could secure very well!”

They approached Torquay company Our Weigh, who donated a Salter Brecknell DSB Platform Scale that can weigh up to 2.5 tons.

An adult male lowland gorilla can weigh 180 kilos – that’s 28 stones or nearly 400 pounds. Paignton Zoo is home to five male lowland gorillas - 30 year old Pertinax, Kiondo and Kivu who are 10; and N’Dowe and Matadi who are both 9. Between them they weigh the best part of a ton.

The scales, which are 1.2 metres square, have been installed in the show den. They have been made gorilla proof by securing them to a bench with the wires passing through the wall where they cannot be tugged by inquisitive apes.

Matt: “It is good to weigh animals on a regular basis, as a loss of weight can indicate a problem with their health. In addition, we have installed a read-out so that visitors can see just how much the boys weigh!”

Our Weigh have also provided an Adam CPWplus 75M Weighing Scale & Salter Breckbell WS15 Weighing Scale for the Mammals Department. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a registered charity. For more information go to or ring 01803 697500.

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