If you’d been reading press releases from the Oakland Zoo staff for the past few Novembers, you might know that November is month when animals at the zoo get to feast on one of their favorite treats–discarded Halloween pumpkins–but if you’re like me, who needs to pay more attention to everything going on at the Zoo, not to mention the greater animal kingdom, that fact might have slipped your mind–till now.

Turns out that the non-carnivorous Zoo animals mostly love pumpkins, and if they’re half-carved, a little soft, or whatever, the animals don’t care–they’re treats, just the same. And besides being edible for many animals, other experience pumpkins as  food containers for geese, carved puzzles for meerkats, and play toys for tigers to tear apart.

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We are thrilled to receive these pumpkin donations each year,” said Colleen Kinzley, Director of Animal Care, Conservation, and Research. “Animals such as elephants, chimpanzees, baboons, goats, and camels enjoy eating and playing with the pumpkins. In the case of others like the lions, bats, geese, and meerkats, we use the pumpkins as feeding devices by carving holes into the pumpkins and hiding treats inside.”


Oakland Zoo would like to thank Moore’s Pumpkin Patch and Holly Prinz of Pick of the Patch Pumpkins. These generous donations will make it possible for our animals to enjoy pumpkin treats for many months to come.

About The Author

Susan Mernit is editor & publisher of Oakland Local (oaklandlocal.com) a news & community hub for Oakland, CA. A former VP at AOL & Netscape, & former! Yahoo Senior Director, Mernit was consulting program manager for The Knight News Challenge, 2008-09; was a 2012 Stanford Carlos McClatchy Fellow; and is a board adviser to The Center for Health Reporting at USC, Annenberg School of Journalism. She has consulted with many non-profit organizations on strategy, product development and social media/engagement, including Salon.com, TechSoup Global, Public Radio International and the Institute for Policy Studies/Economic Hardship Reporting Project, led by Barbara Ehrenreich.

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