9 Bizarre Exotic Animals Queen Elizabeth Has Received as Gifts
Kangaroos, elephants, and crocodiles, oh my! If you're going to meet the British monarch, you've got to bring a gift—and wild animals aren't exempt.
Lots of horses
It’s widely known that 91-year-old Queen Elizabeth loves horses. She started riding at three and hasn’t stopped since. So it’s no surprise that she was presented with five horses to commemorate her 1953 Coronation: an Arab stallion from King Faisal of Iraq, an Arab stallion and an Arab mare from the Imam of Yemen, and two polo ponies from President Perón of Argentina. In the years since, she’s received countless other horses, which have been used as riding horses, carraige horses, and even police horses.
A few cows
The Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society of the Channel Islands has gifted the Queen two cows, one in 1957 and one in 1978. Each cow was sent to the royal dairy herd at Windsor. The herd was originally organized in 1858 to provide the castle household with fresh dairy. Don’t miss these other fascinating facts about Queen Elizabeth.
A court of kangaroos
For the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens in Australia sent the monarch six red kangaroos, two Brolga cranes, and one fat-tailed dunnart (a cute little mouse-like marsupial). They were moved to the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) London Zoo for permanent keeping.
Two black swans
If you thought black swans only existed in the ballet thriller, thank again. The Queen has two of them! President Artur da Costa e Silva of Brazil gave them to Her Majesty in 1976, along with two toco Toucans, two red-billed Toucans, two Ariel toucans, two giant anteaters, one Linne’s two-toed sloth and one giant armadillo. The swans were sent to wetland wildlife reserve WWT Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, and the other animals went to the ZSL London Zoo. Find out the strange reason swans are a symbol of British royalty.
What’s a Queen to do with an elephant? Send him to the ZSL London Zoo, of course. In 1972, the Queen received African forest elephant “Jumbo” from President Ahidjo of Cameroon. According to the Royal Collection, the elephant was flown to Britain and given an in-flight meal of bananas, avocados, and sugar. Upon arrival, he weighed nearly 1,300 lbs.
Did you know an Aldabra tortoise can live up to 250 years? The Queen did—she has two. In 1972, the Government and People of the Seychelles gifted the reptiles to Queen Elizabeth. They now live at the ZSL London Zoo—and probably will for a very long time.
Two black jaguars
Talk about exotic! In 1968, the Prefect of Brasília sent one sloth and two black jaguars named Marques and Aizita. They went on to live at the ZSL London Zoo. Despite the gifts she receives, however, Queen Elizabeth is actually quite thrifty. Check out these surprisingly frugal habits of the British royal family.
The Queen doesn’t discriminate against large and dangerous reptiles. In 1961, she was given a Nile crocodile named Mansa from the people of Berending on the Zambia River. He was sent to live at the ZSL London Zoo.
President Tubman of Liberia sent the Queen two pygmy hippopotami in 1961. Basically, they’re mini versions of their larger relatives, the hippopotamus. And by mini, we mean they grow between 4.9 and 5.7 feet. Queen Elizabeth’s pair was sent to the ZSL London Zoo. Don’t miss these other bizarre perks of being in the royal family.