ZOO YOU KNOW // Enrichment In Action

We got such a positive response to our last blog post on enrichment at Potter Park Zoo, along with a lot of questions about how the animals use the items. We have answers for you!

The African Crested Porcupine likes the ketchup A LOT.  We will put ketchup, mustard, and lots of other items on pinecones and give them to him. The muntjac will also lick it off of logs.   

We will cook the oatmeal and spread it on toys, pinecones or branches.  Birds, primates, the rhinos, porcupine, etc. all seem to enjoy the oatmeal as a treat. Doppsee (one of our Black Rhinos) especially likes the flavored oatmeal like apple and cinnamon or brown sugar. 

Raw oatmeal is used as well in foraging devices and the primates will move the device until they get the oatmeal out. You can’t use the cooked oatmeal as easily for that because it sticks and won’t come out. 

Cologne is used for the large cats, but also the mongoose, fox, otters, hoof stock, wolves, meerkats, etc. 

Mint jelly we have tried on the rhinos and they like it, and are still trying it with some other animals!

This is just a brief overview, but as you can see...the animals use all of these items as part of their enrichment, and rely on them for stimulation and education!

And if you happened to miss our last post, YOU can help make enrichment possible!


If you would like to help with enrichment, you can donate supplies noted below in our enrichment wish list:

  • Molasses                                                                     
  • Honey                                                            
  • Baby Food (Fruit, veggie, or meat)                           
  • Cheerios                                                                     
  • Rice Chex                                                      
  • Tubs of Oatmeal                                                        
  • Instant Oatmeal Flavored (NOT sugar-free)
  • Jello (NOT sugar-free)
  • Kool-Aid (NOT sugar-free)
  • Peppermints (starlight)
  • Nature Valley granola bars (oat & honey)
  • Mint Jelly
  • Grape jelly or other fruit flavors
  • Noodles (spaghetti or other shapes)
  • Applesauce
  • Rice
  • Clam juice
  • Anchovy paste
  • Canned tuna or salmon
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Oyster crackers
  • Brown lunch bags
  • Small paper cups
  • Dried Corn Husks
  • Yogurt (Not Light)
  • Plain popcorn
  • Dried Fruit (raisins, cherries, apricots, prunes)


  • Perfumes/Colognes
  • Banana
  • Mint
  • Strawberry
  • Orange
  • Vanilla
  • Garlic, Oregano, Rosemary, Cumin, Thyme, Lemon Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger

**Items can be dropped off at the front gate at the zoo