Lions, Tigers and Pumpkins, Oh My!

Autumn in Michigan means leaves changing colors, college football games, and, of course, pumpkins!  What do we do with pumpkins?  We paint them.  We carve them.  We make pies out of them.  But what if you give a tiger a pumpkin… 

We do just that here at the Potter Park Zoo as part of our Animal Enrichment Program.  What is animal enrichment?   It is when zoo staff places novel items in the animals’ exhibits that stimulate mental and physical activity and promote natural behaviors.   Why?  Because our animals have some extra time on their “hands” since they do not have to provide for themselves as they would in the wild.  It is good for the animals, and it provides visitors with opportunities to see some fascinating behaviors.

Tigers and other animals in the zoo have different ideas about what to do with a pumpkin than we humans do.  Some might eat them.  Others might bat them around or shred them.  One of our rhinos has been known to end up with a pumpkin on her horn.

In the coming weekends you will have a chance to find out firsthand just what our animals do with pumpkins and other Halloween-themed enrichments.  Join us for daily enrichments at our Boo at the Zoo Events on October 19 & 20 and 26 & 27 and our Pumpkinfest  Enrichment Event on November 3.  Check out our events page for details.