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In Planet Zoo, You Can Only Get Good By Learning Facts About Animals

Planet Zoo is the latest simulator from Frontier Developments, the creators of Roller Coaster Tycoon and the recent Planet Coaster. In this one, you’re building a zoo and making sure all the animals are well cared for, which comes with unexpected challengers for players used to making theme parks.

Modern zoos have a strong focus on conservation, the developers of Planet Zoo told me during a gameplay demo at E3 last week, and Planet Zoo will reflect that. They were showing me a habitat for giraffes while I was asking about the research that Frontier has been doing for the game.

“Their tongues are 45 centimeters long and they’re fully prehensile,” one of the representatives from Frontier said, referring to the giraffe currently feeding in the habitat. I was agog. The developers at Frontier, also the creator of 2013’s Zoo Tycoon, have been visiting zoos as well as working with a researcher from Cambridge to compile their information about the animals in Planet Zoo. Along the way, they’ve picked up a bevy of fun facts. During my demo, I also learned that wildebeests used to be considered pests in the 19th century when they almost went extinct, and that Planet Zoo dedicates a lot of attention to its animals, which makes sense given that a large part of running a zoo is caring for the animals there.

“We’ve gone to zoos and talked to the keepers and said, ‘Right, what makes the animal happy? What kind of enrichment do you provide them?,” the Frontier representative said. “How do we make sure the habitat is as close to how they naturally live as possible?”

In modern zoos, those kinds of things are the focus for keepers, and so it is in Planet Zoo. In order to keep the guests happy, the animals have to be happy as well, and all of them have different requirements to stay happy. Some, like giraffes, are pack animals, while others, like saltwater crocodiles, are more territorial. Some need a certain kind of terrain, like dirt or grass, while other need water in their enclosure so they can swim. You’ll be able to control everything, down to the temperature and humidity levels in the habitats for reptiles, to make sure your animals don’t get sick and are in a good mood.

Several times throughout the demo, the reps from Frontier assured me that the player would never be rewarded for treating animals poorly. Looking at the details in the demo, you can tell how deeply the developers at Frontier care for their virtual facsimiles of chimpanzees, crocodiles, cheetahs, and giraffes. In particular, they wanted to make sure that I saw the fur on the fuzzier creatures up close, especially on the chimpanzees. They looked soft enough to touch.

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Animals

Woman Makes Her Cat A Bed From Old Suitcase — But Cat Still Prefers The Real Thing

Samantha was adopted by her mom from a cat rescue when she was just a kitten, and has been living the spoiled life ever since. Now around 10 years old, the senior rescue cat definitely knows what she likes, and isn’t afraid to make her opinions known. 

“Personality-wise she is very sweet and kind of a princess,” Heather Law, Samantha’s mom, told The Dodo. “She loves to be pet, but only on her terms. Her favorite activities are eating and napping, in that order.” 

One of Samantha’s greatest joys in life is finding different places to nap around the house — and since her mom likes to travel a lot, suitcases have become one of Samantha’s top favorite napping spots. 

suitcase cat
Heather Law

“When I’m packing for a trip, she’s in my room laying on everything as I lay it out on my bed and then she usually sleeps on top of the suitcase before I leave,” Law said. 

Even once her mom has returned, Samantha still insists on sleeping in her unpacked suitcases, and hates when Law finally puts them away again. Noticing Samantha’s intense and slightly strange love for suitcases, Law had an idea that would allow her beloved cat to sleep inside a suitcase whenever she wanted. 

She decided to make Samantha her very own suitcase bed. 

Law used an old suitcase and transformed it into an adorable, very comfy suitcase bed using some inspiration and ideas she found on Pinterest. Once it was finally finished, she eagerly presented it to Samantha, expecting her to be thrilled — but instead, she was totally indifferent. 

suitcase cat
Heather Law

“Her first reaction to the new cat bed was total disinterest,” Law said. “I tried jingling toys around it and she could care less.”

At first, Samantha refused to use the suitcase bed at all, and instead continued to sleep inside her mom’s empty suitcases. Law knew that Samantha would love the suitcase bed if she just gave it a chance, so she decided to spread a little catnip on it — and that totally did the trick. 

suitcase cat
Heather Law

“She hopped up and started rolling around in her bed and has been using the bed ever since,” Law said. “She usually lays in it when I’m getting ready in the morning, though I think she still prefers any old suitcase that I lay out.” 

Samantha now loves her fancy suitcase bed — but of course still tries to sneak naps in actual suitcases whenever she can, because she’s a cat, and that’s just what they do. 


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