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What does it take to feed a Zoo?

The Sacramento Zoo is home to more than 500 animals, and that means there are a lot of mouths to feed.  From blueberries to beef bones, the menu at the Zoo is definitely interesting, diverse and grand.

In 2013, the animals literally consumed tons of plants, meat and bugs. From the tiny Yellow-banded Poison Dart Frogs to the tall Giraffes, each animal is given a specific diet according to its needs.

Last year combined, the animals enjoyed 550 cases of various fruits with an additional six flats of blueberries, 74 flats of grapes and 663 individual avocados.  They also consumed 1,047 cases of various veggies with an additional 409 pounds of zucchini and green beans, 71 bags of beets and onions and 53 heads of cauliflower.  Omnivores and carnivores had their share too and enjoyed a total of 69,470 pounds of “chow”, a special mixture of meats and grains developed exclusively for each species. Nearly 15,000 pounds of meat was fed out, and 984 pounds of bones were given as diet supplements and special treats. You can find the entire list at sacamentozoo.blogspot.com.

It’s not just the Animal Care staff who can feed the animals; you can help too!  When you prune your trees chances are the Zoo may be able to accept donations of your freshly cut leafy browse (nontoxic leaves and branches) that will be given to the animals.  Donations are accepted all year so please check the Donate Browse webpage at saczoo.org  for more details.

Weather permitting, you can also enjoy a daily Giraffe Encounter for an opportunity to see their dark 18-inch tongue as you offer a leafy treat.

With all this talk of food, you may wonder what do people eat at the Zoo? Guests are always welcome to bring a picnic lunch, or enjoy a meal from the Zoo’s Kampala Café or Savanah Snack Shack. No matter how you view it, it takes a lot to feed a Zoo.

Mongoose Lemur Enjoying a Carrot
Mongoose Lemur Enjoying a Carrot
Giraffe Eating Browse
Giraffe Eating Browse
Sumtran Tiger Cub Chewing on a Bone
Sumtran Tiger Cub Chewing on a Bone
Wolf's Guenon Berry Treat
Wolf’s Guenon Berry Treat

About the author

April Mae Saenz Johnson

On a daily basis, I see animals from all over the world in one special place: the Sacramento Zoo. I am happy to share inside info, fun facts and photographs of the zoo's animals, staff and events.

In my personal life, I enjoy the sleepy, gross and amazing moments of motherhood, time with my husband and our labradoodle, with a bit of traveling, yoga and volunteering on the Leadership Team for Social Media Club Sacramento.

I am embarking on a new adventure as co-founder of Aging UP, a nonprofit empowering youth with experience in foster care to successfully transition into adulthood.

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