The animals from San Diego Zoo’s Lost Forest habitat have received a special Halloween treat recently. The Allen’s swamp monkeys, Schmidt’s red-tailed monkeys, African spotted-necked otters, red river hogs and a forest buffalo. These species all come from Africa and get along well at the zoo.
The monkeys, otters and buffalo received pumpkins with peanut butter along with gourds with fish inside. They spent the morning chasing and rolling their pumpkins including taking swims in the water. Some of the pickier individuals even pulled out the seeds.
Keepers carved the pumpkins not for decoration but to let the animals access the insides. A few were left whole though so they could work at smashing them open for more fun. Some of the monkeys found a nice ledge off which they pushed the pumpkins in an attempt to crack them open.
You can watch a fun video of their antics below.
These enrichment opportunities are given to the animals so they can take control of their own actions and chose what they want to occupy their time with. A keeper at the San Diego Zoo, Leslie Steele said, “Enrichment is really important to encourage species-specific behaviors.”
“It’s great to give the animals something that’s out of the blue that’s a fun puzzle to figure out, and it’s fun for people to watch, too,” added Leslie.
Photo credit: Ken Bohn/ San Diego Zoo