Zoo Update with Denise Verret

Rare Bird: Remembering Anyapa
October 2, 2019
Otter and a pumpkin

Pumpkins are popular! Photos by Tad Motoyama

 When I think of fall, I think of the changing of the season, warm colors emerging, pumpkins, and the appetizer of holidays, Halloween. I love the warm days and slight chill that fills the evenings. New autumnal smells permeate the air and, if you are lucky, you might catch a whiff of smoke coming from a neighbor's chimney. That smell mingles in with the dry leaves cluttering the ground and crackling underfoot, and your olfactory senses can't deny that the smell of fall in the air. Skies look like canvas paintings transforming from sunrises of orange and pink to sunsets of purple and blue with the sun peeking through low clouds. Warms drinks and seasonal treats make their debut and there's nothing like some mini marshmallows in hot chocolate or a cinnamon stick swirling around in warm apple cider to make you feel good inside and out. But my favorite this time of year is anything pumpkin. I love it in my latte, a cupcake, or even a ravioli. And I am in good company, because many of our animals enjoy pumpkins, too!

This time of year, we receive donations of pumpkins and other "fancy" gourds. Other seasonal fall food items that are in our animals’ nutritional rotation include acorn and butternut squash. These treats are enjoyed by our elephants, peccary, hippos, Aldabra tortoises, and some of the primates. The other great thing about pumpkins is that they can be hollowed out and filled with other animal diet items, providing special enrichment surprises.

As we enter the fall season and the spirit of change in the air, I hope you will take the time to enjoy the Zoo and our month-long Boo at the L.A. Zoo event. From October 1 through 27 you can enjoy fabulous activities, entertainment, learning stations, and, of course, trick-or-treating on October 19, 20, 26, and 27.