Zoo Animals Eating Pumpkins Is the Perfect Autumn Treat

Every year, zoos across the country celebrate the fall season by offering animals pumpkins as snacks and enrichment. The Oregon Zoo has outdone themselves by kicking off the 2022 pumpkin season with a compilation of critters sure to delight everyone. Zookeepers gave pumpkins to so many animals this year! There’s lions and otters and bears (oh my!) but also red pandas, porcupines, and beavers.

All the animals have a different strategy for attacking the pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns. Rhinos and elephants stomp the squash before chowing down. The lemurs duck in for handful after handful. But it’s the predators that really leave a lasting impression. A bear rips its pumpkin to shreds while a crocodile gives one a good shake. 

a collage of a beaver, otter, and rhino eating pumpkins at the Oregon Zoo
Oregon Zoo

Meanwhile, at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, a beaver got all the gourds. It lives its best life bobbing for pumpkins in its pool and munching on them in the grass. It has a dam good time while delighted zoo-goers chatter in the background.

A mob of meerkats investigated jack-o’-lanterns at the L.A. Zoo (video below). While a herd of elephants at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo got a 1,500 pumpkin to destroy this year and made pretty short work of it. Still no word from Fiona and the hippo bloat in Cincinnati, but we’re sure they’ll be among the many more additions to come this year.

While I may prefer my pumpkin spiced and served as a pie, lattes, bread, cookies, or honestly pretty much anything, the zoo animals seem perfectly content to enjoy theirs raw. Like pumpkin spice season, we love this annual tradition of zoo critters getting their fill of pumpkin treats.

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.

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