Prague Zoo's animals enjoy a seasonal pumpkin feast for Halloween

A variety of species at Prague Zoo had the chance to try out a seasonal feast of pumpkins in the days leading up to Halloween.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 31.10.2021 12:40:00 (updated on 31.10.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Residents of Prague Zoo had the chance to taste some seasonal treats during a special pumpkin feast at the zoo during the days leading up to Halloween on October 31.

A total of fifteen species at Prague Zoo were fed around 700 kilograms of pumpkins on Thursday and Friday. The pumpkin feast has become an annual autumn staple at the zoo, and this year visitors were invited to bring their own pumpkins, with prizes awarded for the largest specimens.

Each species was prepared a different style of pumpkin. While larger breeds were able to open the delicacy themselves, smaller animals were given pre-cut portions. For carnivores uninterested in the seasonal treat, meat was inserted into hollowed-out pumpkins.

Prague Zoo's popular elephants has become accustomed to the seasonal treat over the past years. Last year, two of the newest additions tried pumpkin for the first time. Young female elephants Launka and Amalee were born at Prague Zoo in spring 2020.

While hippopotamuses are able to consume pumpkins in one gulp, the elephants at Prague Zoo have learned to crush the pumpkins under their feet as a first step before gaining access to the soft innards. They also enjoy playing with the pumpkins before consuming them.

The animals at Prague Zoo are attracted not only by the taste but also shape and color of the pumpkins. The roundness and distinctive orange color of the pumpkins makes for an object that stimulates both physical and mental activity for many species.

"Some animals got pumpkins because they eat them and because they like them. But some also got them as toys," breeder Nataša Velenská, who fed the Zoo's giant tortoises by hand, told local media.

"For example, holes are drilled into the pumpkins for aardvarks, and worms are put into them so that they have to mine them out and thus have fun [...] They enjoy it, because in the wild, animals also do not have all their food placed on the table in front of them, but they have to look for it."

The Zoo's competition for largest pumpkin runs through 6:00 p.m. on Halloween day. The winning gourd will net its owner a year-long family admission pass, and additional prizes will be given to the top ten biggest entrants.

After the pumpkin competition is over, the submissions will be rounded up and fed to the Zoo's residents as one last Halloween treat.

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