The weather outside was frightful on the last day of 2009, but the National Zoo’s Small Mammal House is delightful! The temperatures in the D.C. area continued to drop and residents planned accordingly as conditions turned a bit brutal on New Year’s Eve.
However, the residents of the Small Mammal House are learning to enjoy winter. As an extension of their regular enrichment activities, animal keepers carved away pint-size snowmen (and over-size snowflakes) out of snow and adorned the pieces with apples, carrots, and mealworms. The decorations elicited a child-like reaction—a bit of curiosity and a lot of excitement!
A diverse array of animals live in the Small Mammal House, ranging from primates to armadillos—all with individual personalities and abilities. These animals occupy various niches in the wild and have highly specialized behaviors adapted to their native environments. Designing these “treat–enriched” snowmen and snowflakes encourages natural behaviors from these incredible animals.