CLEVELAND - As pumpkin selling season comes to an end, the animals at the North Georgia Zoo know that the fun is just beginning.
During the first two weekends in November, the zoo - also known as Wildlife Wonders Zoo to You - recycles extra pumpkins and gives them to their animals.
"It's a lot of fun for our guests this weekend and next weekend during the pumpkin smashing to throw the pumpkins into the enclosures and have them just splatter everywhere and the animals will come eat [the pumpkin]," said Christine McNulty, the Director of Guest Services at the zoo and one of the head tour guides at the facility.
McNulty said each animal will be given a whole, ripe pumpkin to play with and eat. Some animals, like the cougars and wolves, "bowl" with their pumpkins and bat them around before digging in. Others, like the porcupine and beaver, prefer to chew on the rinds. However, all animals get to enjoy eating the pumpkins.
"It's very nourishing for the animals to eat that pumpkin. It's not something that people would normally think they would enjoy but they do," said McNulty.
The pumpkins are leftovers from the zoo's pumpkin patch, as well as donations from St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Cleveland. Donations are also taken, but the pumpkins must be solid and not rotting in any way, so no jack-o-lanterns, said McNulty.
More information can be found on the North Georgia Zoo website, which is linked below.