Pumpkin SMASH! It’s that time of year again! Not only are pumpkins a tasty treat, they also serve as exciting enrichment for a number of animals at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. As you can see, each animal has a different approach to ripping into a pumpkin. The hippos like to crunch the pumpkins with their powerful jaws while the skunks like to ‘go all in’ and tear pieces apart with their tiny claws and teeth. The elephants use their strong trunks to squeeze the pumpkin open before delicately directing the gourd to their mouth. The behavior of our mountain lions is probably similar to your cat at home! They bat at the pumpkins and use their sharp claws and rough tongues to retrieve the meat their keepers hid inside.
Enrichment opportunities like this are important for the bodies and brains of our animals, because it’s good for our animals to problem solve. Enrichment is good for both animals and humans! As the holidays approach, it can be hard for us humans to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and lower stress. Our partners, Children’s Hospital Colorado, have provided some great tips for eating well, navigating holiday travel and having happy, healthy holidays this year: https://www.childrenscolorado.org/conditions-and-advice/parenting/parenting-articles/happy-healthy-holidays/.