Zoo animals get Halloween treats - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Zoo animals get Halloween treats

Posted: Updated:

By Cheryl Lasseter - bio|email|twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The family of spider monkeys, mother Debbie, daughter Destiny, and son Miraca, are all getting a special Halloween treat.

"I carved the pumpkin out, put some goodies in there," says zookeeper Brenda Oluwl. She has filled a pumpkin with lettuce, sugar cane, and hot dog buns with peanut butter. The monkeys eat what they want, and reject what they don't want.

Maybe it's this type of enrichment that has kept Debbie living so long. At this stage in her life, she's lost all her teeth. "Life span usually is from 25-30 years. Debbie is around 37-years-old," Oluwl says.

Visitors of all ages watched the tigers gobble up their Halloween pumpkins.

Mignon Banks and her son Jason say it's a great way to spend a crisp fall morning. "We're enjoying it, we haven't been to the zoo in a while. This is his first time at the Jackson Zoo," Banks says of her son.

Katie Rachel and her daughter Lilian describe what they saw in the tiger den. "They threw a pumpkin to them, they started fighting over it, playing with it," Katie says.

The zoo tries to give the animals things to do outside of what they normally do in the caged environment. "They came out, they enjoyed them, rolled them down the hill, they devoured them. Which means they had a good time by pulling them apart, which is what tigers do in the wild," says General Curator Willie Bennett.

The leopards, chimps, and elephants also enjoyed Halloween treats Saturday morning, although the leopards weren't as quick to bite into their pumpkins. "Give them to them at 8 in the morning, sometimes 2, 3 in the afternoon they still have them, playing with them," Bennett says.

Saturday and Sunday will be the last two days to see the elephants at the zoo. Juno will leave November 3, and Rosie will leave November 5 on their way to the Nashville Zoo. Zoos that keep elephants must maintain a herd of three to keep their accreditation.

©2010 WLBT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Powered by WorldNow