Fall means that pumpkin season is here! Those same orange pumpkins that you decorate with on Halloween serve an entirely different purpose once the holiday is over! If they are lucky enough to make their way to the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary, they become enrichment for some of the most amazing and magnificent animals you could ever see!
This year, we were lucky enough to receive more pumpkins than ever
before and just a few days ago, we begun handing out the pumpkins to some very eager cats and bears. The bears use those amazing noses to smell what’s inside and as soon as they do, it’s time to tear them open. Claws and teeth work together to get to the juicy insides of the big pumpkins!
The Grizzly bears have been particularly fond of the pumpkins, each enjoying a daily pumpkin to devour. It is always the first thing they go to when they are fed in the morning! The American black bears
living at IEAS also got their first round of pumpkins this year. They dug in faster than even we thought they would! It only took a few seconds for their strong claws to take a chunk of pumpkin off. Then it was “noses in!” They each stuck their snouts straight in and enjoyed a gooey feast! Scamp, in particular, enjoyed the pumpkins. He couldn’t decide which one he liked the best, switching between all three of the pumpkins provided to him, Scooter, and Greta. He even laid on the ground with all of two of them on his belly, trying to decide which one was best!
The first cats to get their pumpkins did not disappoint! We were very excited about giving Danvir and Sajani their first pumpkins ever at IEAS. Danvir took a few minutes to warm up to the idea but Sajani dove right in! That pumpkin never stood a chance. It was thrown up in the air, chewed to bits, and smashed all around until all that was left was specks of orange all over the habitat! And all that took about 45 seconds! Isabella enjoyed her pumpkin just as much. She picked it right up and marched straight to the pool where she hopped in and attempted to drown her new toy. It was almost like she was bobbing for pumpkins! She had a great time splashing around with the enrichment and there wasn’t much left of that pumpkin the next day. While many of them don’t mind onlookers during their pumpkin romps, there are a few cats that would rather devour their prey in private. Barnum grabbed his huge pumpkin and ran right to his house, where we found a pile of orange in the morning!
We are so excited that so many of the IEAS animals loved their enrichment items. These pumpkins provide the felines perfect behavioral enrichment, allowing the cats to pounce, play, hunt, and sink their teeth into something fun! The bears get to mimic their habits that would take place in wild environments, finding food and digging in, making the pumpkins perfect environmental enrichment for them! Keep an eye out for videos throughout the week!
We want to send a HUGE thanks to RAINBOW PLANT SALES in Saginaw, Texas for donating all of their leftover pumpkins to IEAS and to everyone who donated their leftover pumpkins from home! You provided every animal at IEAS with an exciting, joyful, and truly happy time! They loved the pumpkins and we can’t tell you how much we appreciate your support!