Animals enjoy pumpkin treats as part of Halloween

A safari park has provided its animals with enrichment and treats as part of a spooky event.

The meerkats, including the pups, loved foraging for treats, hidden inside their pumpkins. Photo: Matthew Lissimore
The meerkats, including the pups, loved foraging for treats, hidden inside their pumpkins. Photo: Matthew Lissimore

The keepers at West Midlands Safari Park in Bewdley have hollowed out the excess pumpkins from its Spooky Spectacular event and hid treats inside for animals such as meerkats, giraffes and tigers.

The park said doing this acts as a form of seasonal enrichment, allowing animals to exhibit natural behaviours, such as foraging, burrowing and in the case of the tigers, stalking.

Giraffes at West Midland Safari Park are treated to pumpkin enrichment for Halloween. Photo: Matthew Lissimore

For some of the Park’s newest arrivals, such as meerkat pups, Kovu, Kenai and Kyra, the strange orange gourds were completely new, but this didn’t phase them and as soon as they found the treats inside, keepers found it difficult to get them out.

The giraffes, a little more cautious by nature, approached the pumpkins tentatively, but were soon seen munching on the ‘hair’ sprouting out the top.

Sumatran tiger, Hujan, enjoys stalking and pouncing on her meat-filled pumpkin. Photo: Matthew Lissimore

Head keeper of Carnivores, Chris Hodgkins, said, “It’s great to see so many different species of animal enjoy the pumpkins at West Midland Safari Park.

"Every year, the Park’s Events team orders in thousands of pumpkins and to ensure any surplus aren’t wasted, keepers give them to the various animals in their care.

"It’s nice to be able to offer them something that’s a little different and fits in with the time of the year.

“Pumpkins are great because they have a distinctive smell, can be hollowed out to fill with treats and some of our animals love the taste of it.

"We love to see the animals playing and exhibiting natural behaviours, foraging for the treats inside, but it’s also nice to see them rolling a pumpkin around and ultimately destroying it.

"Our sixteen-year-old female Sumatran tiger, Hujan, even stalked the pumpkins, before pouncing on them.

"Let’s hope Patch, our very own pumpkin-headed mascot, doesn’t hear what the tigers are up to.”

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