A Beginner's Guide to Planet Zoo – The Animals

A Beginner's Guide to Planet Zoo – The Animals

All you need to know about caring for animals in Planet Zoo

Hayo Zookeepers!

In this third part of our Beginner’s Guide to Planet Zoo series we’re focusing on the stars of the show – the animals of Planet Zoo!

The standard edition of Planet Zoo features 72 unique animals, rising to a total of 180 animals with all DLC*. With so many unique animals to populate your zoo, all with their own quirks and requirements, there’s a lot to learn. Luckily this guide is here to kit you out with all the knowledge you need to keep your animals happy and healthy.

*Planet Zoo: Console Edition will receive all existing animals and DLC by March 2025.

Types of Animals

There are two kinds of animals in Planet Zoo. Each has its own trading area.

  • Habitat animals – larger animals for example giant pandas and elephants.
  • Exhibit animals – smaller animals such as the giant forest scorpion or Gila monster.

Adopting Animals

Before Adopting an Animal

Before adding a new animal to a habitat in the zoo, you will need the following:

  • A habitat.
  • A Trade Centre facility.
  • A power source.
  • A vet or caretaker.
  • Some cash or conservation credits.

Once the Trade Centre is powered (and connected by path to the habitat's gate), you're ready to start adopting animals!

How to Adopt an Animal

To adopt an animal:

  1. Open the appropriate trading screen to view the current list of animals.
  2. Select the animal you are looking for.
  3. Once you have sufficient funds, select 'Adopt'.
  4. Once you adopt an animal, it is stored in your Trade Centre and is ready to be welcomed into your zoo.

Newly adopted animals can be added to the zoo directly from the animal market and there are four types of places you can send an animal:

  • Quarantine
  • Habitat
  • Exhibit
  • Trade Centre

It's a good idea to send the animal to a quarantine facility before sending it to a habitat, as it reduces the risk of bringing infections into the zoo.

In the case of exhibit animals, only one species can be housed in a single exhibit.

Once an animal has been scheduled for transport, the nearest caretaker or vet will try to fulfil the request and take the animal to its new home.

Animal Welfare

Animals in Planet Zoo have four core needs:

  • Nutrition
  • Social
  • Habitat
  • Enrichment

These combine to affect the animal's overall welfare.

Animals with higher welfare will live longer, are less prone to illness, attract more guests and generate more donations. Animals with lower welfare can become sick and, in the worst cases, can even die. Poor animal welfare can also attract Protesters to your zoo.

You can examine an animal's welfare levels by selecting the animal in the world and viewing the first tab in its Animal Info panel, or by observing the Animal tab in the Zoo Management screen.

Information for individual species requirements can also be found in the Zoopedia.

Nutrition Welfare

Nutrition is made up of four components:

  • Nourishment – whether the animal has been able to find enough food.
  • Last Meal Quality – the nutritional quality of the animal’s last meal. Improved food types can be found for your animals through research.
  • Hydration – whether the animal has been able to access water.
  • Last Drink Cleanliness – the quality of the last drink an animal had.

Social Welfare

Planet Zoo - Social Welfare

Each animal has its own social preferences. Specific preferences for individual species can be found in the Zoopedia.

These preferences are broken down into three categories:

Social Group

Every animal has a preference for the number of animals of the same species it wishes to coexist with. It may be necessary to adopt, separate or remove animals to find the right balance. Depending on species, you may need to also consider balancing genders and managing alpha power struggles.


There are three kinds of space that an animal may want to navigate within it’s habitat:

  • Land
  • Water
  • Climbing

Some animals also require an underwater area of sufficient size and depth to satisfy their space welfare.

As the number of animals in a habitat increases so does the amount of space they need.


Animals may get stressed by losing fights and being viewed by guests.

Not all animals are affected by guest viewing in the same way; more confident animals are resilient to a larger number of viewing guests. Animals will attempt to reduce their stress by seeking shelter, hiding or climbing to block or reduce the guests' view. A good habitat will provide shy animals with opportunities to do this.

Habitat Welfare

Planet Zoo Console - Gorilla

The ideal habitat will resemble the animal's natural environment.


Affected by dung, rotten food, skeletons, litter, carcasses and untreated water. While keepers can deal with the first four, a vet is needed to remove carcasses and a water treatment facility is needed to clean water.


The ideal temperature range for each species is listed in the Zoopedia. Animals have some tolerance to temperatures outside this range but will start to suffer if the discrepancy is too great.


Each species prefers a unique distribution of terrain types.


Ideally plants in a habitat should match the continent and biome of the animals within it. For example, if an animal prefers the temperate biome in North America, try to ensure that there are North American plants in the habitat. Filters can be applied within the browser to help you more locate the right foliage for your animals. The coverage and the density of plants in a habitat is also important for its welfare.

Hard Shelter

Caves, overhangs, and other solid structures of sufficient size allow animals to rest and hide from the elements. Shelter also serves as a location for stressed animals to recuperate.

Enrichment Welfare

Planet Zoo - Enrichment Welfare

Animals in captivity benefit from activities which stimulate and emulate their natural behaviours.

Enrichment items provide that stimulation, either through food or play. Each animal has a set of enrichment items that they will use; some are available upon acquiring the animal and others are unlocked by performing vet research.

Food Enrichment

Provides nutrition to the animal and also stimulates their enrichment welfare.

Toy Enrichment 

Keeps animals active and engaged in their habitats. This engagement declines over time making it less effective. Removing all instances of a type of enrichment toy from a habitat will help restore its novelty bonuses.

Social Enrichment

Many species happily coexist in the wild. This interspecies coexistence boosts the overall enrichment welfare for an animal and can significantly offset enrichment toy penalties caused by lack of novelty.

Exhibit Welfare

Just as with habitats, the welfare of an animal in an exhibit is important for its survival and its chances of breeding successfully.

Exhibit welfare is split into the following categories:

  • Nutrition – indicates whether an animal has had access to food or water recently.
  • Social Health – a reflection of whether the exhibit is crowded and whether the correct balance of sexes has been achieved.
  • Suitability – measures whether there is sufficient enrichment present for the animal.

Animal Health

There are two ways an animal can become unwell in Planet Zoo.


The primary sources of infection are:

  • Contagion from other sick animals in the same habitat.
  • Dirty habitats caused by a buildup of dung, rotting food, corpses, guest food and dirty water.
  • Feeding from the ground.

Quarantining newly adopted animals will help to block new diseases entering the zoo, as it gives vets a chance to detect and treat diseases before they are introduced into the wider population.

To help reduce the chances of infection, keepers can be deployed to clean habitats and water treatment facilities can be used to keep bodies of water clear. Keepers and vets may detect an illness either whilst it is incubating or in an infectious state when they examine a habitat.

You can choose to box animals and have them sent to quarantine to reduce the likelihood of an infection spreading. Animals are transferred to quarantine by caretakers and will be moved automatically into a vet surgery by a vet when one becomes available.

There is a chance that animals will recover on their own, but the likelihood of this happening depends on their welfare and immunity. A vet will always heal an animal faster and more reliably. Animals that have caught a disease will become immune to future infections by the same one.

Physical injury

Animals can become injured either through fights amongst themselves or attacks from their predators.

Fighting within a species normally occurs due to one of three issues:

  • Dominance fights where an animal is attempting to take alpha status from another.
  • Fighting due to social imbalances in the group makeup.
  • Stress fighting due to overcrowding.

Often fighting can be avoided through good animal husbandry and predation can be avoided by separating unsuitable animals.

Treatment for injuries follows the same process as for disease, but animals with light injuries may also heal themselves over time depending on the animal's welfare and immunity.

Injuries that heal will leave the animal with a permanent scar.

Animal Lifecycle

In Planet Zoo animals transition from infancy into adulthood and if looked after well will live to a healthy old age.

The lifespan of an animal is affected by:

  • Genetics
  • Overall welfare throughout the animal's life
  • Illness
  • Injury
  • Starvation and Dehydration

If you keep your animal in optimal welfare, treat illnesses quickly and limit injuries, they will live longer. When an animal dies, ensure there is a keeper or vet present to take away the body, and don't forget to check the social welfare of cohabiting animals.

Animal Locomotion

Animals in Planet Zoo can move around their environment in a number of ways, these include:

  • Walking
  • Jumping
  • Wading (shallow water)
  • Surface swimming (commences when too deep for wading)
  • Wading (submerged)
  • Climbing

The species of animal will dictate which of these locomotion types are possible.

For instance primates cannot swim, elephants cannot jump, hippos can wade submerged but don't swim, and so on. For an animal to be able to traverse an area it must be able to fit through it.

In the case of land traversal, the steepness of the slope can become too great for an animal to walk up it and it may become untraversable. This varies from animal to animal. When possible, climbing occurs on surfaces that are too steep to walk upon.

Climbing animals need to be able to grip the surface to be able to climb, which restricts their climbing to soft surfaces such as wood, surfaces with grips or handholds or hard surfaces that they can grasp fully such as a pole.

Enabling Heatmaps will allow you to see the traversable area within habitats.

Appeal to Guests

Guests come to your zoo to see your animals and are attracted to different animals for different reasons.

The source of this attraction is the animal's Appeal and is based on a number of factors:

Species Appeal

Some species are just more interesting and therefore appealing to guests than others and will have a high Appeal score.

Genetic Quality

Within a given species, animals with the strongest genetics tend to be the most appealing to guests. When looking at the animal exchange, look out for the shiny medals; these indicate the animal's genetic strength.

Not only will animals with great genetics have a tendency to produce strong offspring, they are also likely to be larger and healthier than other animals, therefore improving their appeal.

Star Rating

If an animal is well looked after and therefore has excellent welfare, its star rating improves over time. The larger the rating, the higher the appeal If the rating reaches five stars, the animal becomes extremely attractive to guests.

Animal Breeding

Animal breeding is an important aspect of any zoo and it must be carefully nurtured and managed to control your animal populations.

Chance of Success

The chance of a successful mating encounter is based on a number of factors:

  • The current welfare of both parents
  • The fertility level of both parents
  • Breeding programmes
  • Species fertility
  • Animals will never successfully mate if the overall welfare of either animal is below 66%.

The best possibility of animals having offspring comes from good welfare, well researched breeding programmes and good animal husbandry practices.

Animal Genetics

Every animal in Planet Zoo has its own genome, passed down to it from its parents. Breeding animals can accentuate these genetic expressions with results both positive and negative.

Each animal has genes that express the following traits:

  • Additive Genes - tend to reinforce a trait, such as size, when two animals breed.
  • Size
  • Longevity
  • Appearance
  • Diversity Genes - provide improved genetic outputs in offspring when the genetic information from both parents is different.
  • Fertility
  • Immunity

Parents with similar genetic information tend to occur with inbreeding and the offspring of these mates will have compromised traits such as low fertility.


To control a population, it may be necessary to moderate breeding. This can be done in the following ways:

  • Physical separation
  • Contraception

Contraception can be modified either in the animal's info panel or in the Animals Overview screen.

Animal Star Rating

Each animal has an Animal Star Rating that is rated out of 5 stars. This rating increases over time based on how well you look after your animal; a higher welfare will mean their star rating rises faster. An animal's lifespan also affects how easy it is to reach a 5 star rating. The better the animal's Longevity gene the more time there is for the animal to reach 5 stars.

Animal Coat Variation

An animal's coat can have both colour and pattern variation depending on species. Coat variation is passed on through genetics. This includes rare genetic variations such as albino animals. If you’re looking to encourage a particular coat variation, breeding animals with the same coat variation increases the chance of this passing to their offspring.

However, be sure to maintain a good level of genetic diversity in your breeding pairs or you may bring in more compromised traits.

Releasing to the Wild

Animals can be released to the wild as a part of a conservation drive to increase numbers in their natural habitat. Releasing animals to the wild will generate Conservation Credits and will also boost the zoo's conservation rating. The number of Credits returned from this will reduce for repeat releases of the same species within a short period of time.

Animals cannot be released to the wild when they are juvenile, sterile, elderly or sick.

Trading Animals

Animals can be traded for cash and conservation credits.

Before you can trade an animal, you must send it to the Trade Centre. Animals cannot be traded when they are juvenile, sterile or elderly.

If an animal can't be traded or released to the wild, it can be rehomed; doing so costs money. Once an animal is rehomed, there is no way to get it back.

Trade in Franchise Mode

You can only trade for conservation credits in Franchise Mode. To list the animal on the market for Conservation Credits, select 'Trade.' Other players will then be able to adopt your animal while the animal is listed. If the animal isn't adopted before the listing expires, it will return to the Animal Storage.

Quick Sell

In any mode of the game, you can quickly sell the animal for cash. This is instant but doesn't generate Conservation Credits.

The heart of any zoo is its animals and now you have the knowledge you need to keep them happy and healthy for a long, long time.

Looking to start building your Zoo, but not sure where to start? Head over to the previous part of this guide which covers everything you need to know about building your zoo. Ready to start welcoming guests and filling staff rooms? Read the next guide in the series, which is focused on staff and guests.

Planet Zoo: Console Edition is available to buy now on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.

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