Elephants enjoy pumpkin smashing

14 Oct 2020

He said, ‘I start by preparing the ground in April and then plant the seeds in May in the greenhouse and when the pumpkins are a decent size, I put them into the ground to continue growing.”

After the three, 14 stone pumpkins were put in the enclosure, the Elephants were let in. Shaka, the oldest bull sauntered over slowly, assessing the situation. The two smaller and younger Elephants, M’Changa and Janu, ran over as soon as they realised there was something new and interesting.

M’Changa stamped on the first pumpkin with a loud crack, whilst Janu went on to the second. After a satisfying crunch from Janu’s pumpkin, which was one meter in diameter, Shaka came over to investigate, prompting Janu to back away. Janu went back to help M’Changa finish off his pumpkin.

Alpha bulls will usually be the first to eat and as Shaka is the dominant of this bachelor group, he decides what he wants, and the others follow suit.

Sandra De Rek, Head Elephant Keeper at the zoo said, “Shaka is the dominant bull and therefore in the bull group, what he says, goes. If he’d have got to all of them first, he would have eaten them all. Luckily for M’Changa and Janu, he walked the long way around the enclosure and so the young ones got to enjoy a pumpkin together before he got there.”

Elephants usually eat 150kg of food a day, starting with carrots in their enclosure, so pumpkins was a nice change to the day. It also provides enrichment for the mammals, getting them to use their trunks, tusks and feet to break up the giant squashes to make them bitesize.

After eating 270kg worth of pumpkin, the Elephants turned their attention back to their normal sized carrots. It was a ‘smashing’ day for the Elephants!

Pumpkin Fest will run from October 24th to the 1st November 2020 at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm. Join them for a mystery pumpkin trial, a social media pumpkin carving competition and yummy pumpkin treats. Pumpkins are available for sale at the new Noah’s Ark Farm Shop.

Elephants enjoy pumpkin smashing
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