This film is part of Free

Tame Animals at Work

Ostrich-riding and other outrageous animal antics at a private zoo in Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

Interest film 1909 6 mins Silent


Animal-rights activists may not appreciate the outrageous antics of these rather overzealous zoo-keepers at Ampthill House in Bedfordshire. The keepers perform their party-piece of mounting and riding various beasts of burden - including donkeys, camels, and llamas, as well as a harnessed pig, a sheep, a zebra, and even some rather feisty-looking ostriches - in a motley parade for the camera.

Some of these animals may well have gone on to have a happier life at Whipsnade Park Zoo, (owned by the Zoological Society for London), where they were transferred during the 1920s. Owner Sir Anthony Wingfield finally closed his zoo for good at the outbreak of WWII, and on his death in 1952 the house and grounds were demolished and redeveloped as a housing estate.