Happy fall from the meat-eaters!
Fall is always a fun time for the Carnivore Department. It means cooler weather, lots of leaf piles, and best of all, PUMPKINS! Recently all of the carnivores here at the Zoo received pumpkins for enrichment. For the sun bears, pumpkins make a great feeder toy to hide a delicious snack in … as well as snacks themselves. Xander and Sabah love to eat pumpkins, so it’s not uncommon for them to receive whole pumpkins, carved pumpkins, pumpkin chunks, pumpkin “guts,” and pumpkin seeds throughout the fall. The otters, Bakairi and Tocantins, love to push pumpkins around the pool and dunk them in the water, and the small carnivores like Bramble the binturong and Logan the fossa enjoy the occasional playtime with whole small pumpkins.
My favorite part of pumpkin season is watching how each of the cats interacts with their pumpkin prey. The lion boys, Hondo, Hatari, and Azizi, are classic cats. We set the pumpkins out, usually up on their kopje (the giant rock in the middle of the habitat), and they promptly knock them off. They don’t prefer to spend much time with their pumpkins, as they are usually considered vanquished as soon as they hit the ground. The tigers are hit or miss. Sometimes they get in the spirit of Halloween and carve their pumpkins a little. A few days ago Sparky, the Zoo’s male tiger, enjoyed wrestling and kicking his pumpkin inside while Chelsea shredded her pumpkin outside. And then there’s the Zoo’s clouded leopard. Suhana has become extremely fond of pumpkins over the last few years. No pumpkin has made it out of her habitat in one piece this year, and she has received a few so far. Suhana has been spotted throwing pumpkins from extreme heights, dragging them prey-style to her favorite resting spots, kicking them, and shredding them with her enormous canines.
(photo: Jen A.)
Keeper III, Mammals