MONROE, LA (5/8/20)– The zoo can be a fun place for kids and adults to learn about the many different animals. However today, you’re getting an inside look of the hard work and preparation that goes into planning out specific meals for each animal. Most of the animals at the zoo know when it’s time to eat. While they may prefer the yummy fruit and treats, zoo keepers have to make sure all the animals have a healthy diet.
“Most people over feed their animals and so we have diets for these animals but diets aren’t static, diets are as alive as the animals are and you are suppose to watch your animals,” said Joe cCawson, Director/ Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo.
Back in the kitchen is where all the magic works. Zookeepers put on their chief hat and prepare the meals.
“You need to cut them small enough that you don’t have big chunks of food but you also want to have them large enough so the monkeyscan deal with them as they eat them,” said Clawson.
The warthogs meal consist of many different things. Including a grain diet, fruits, veggies, and dog food, which is a special treat. The ideal meal is 80 percent nutritional, which is usually the grain, and the remaining 20 percent is the fruits, veggies, meats, and anything else.
“They are going to pick through and eat their favorite parts first. So you don’t want to have all their favorite parts on top because you want to make them work for their dinner a little bit,” said Clawson.
Diets are different from human to human, but also from animal to animal. Tut, who is a camel, has accesses to grass and hay all day long. He will also receive a grain diet and when he’s lucky, he’ll get a treat.
Clawson says a good zookeeper will notice weight loss, weight gain, and food preferences in their animals. These all play a factor in finding the specific diet for every different animal.
Zoo officials say these diet tricks can translate over into the way you feed and take care of your pets at home. Even though you love them and want to feed them “Human food,” giving them a healthy diet is best. Tune in next Friday as NBC 10 goes behind the scenes again.