Just as humans get excited for a full plate of food- so do animals. Some of Northwest Trek’s woodlands and wetland animals were recently given their own Thanksgiving feast. Their dinner plate: a cornucopia.
Skunks are omnivores and eat a variety of foods seasonally, including vegetable material and up to their weight in insects every week. For Milton the skunk’s feast, keeper Wendi Mello gave him a mixture of blueberries, pears, yams, omnivore and insectivore chow and a handful of mealworms. Mealworms are his favorite food, said Mello. She added that Milton also likes cranberries (how festive!) and eats one cranberry per week to help with his urinary tract health.
Badger sisters Poppy and Lavender feasted on ground meat together, sometimes taking turns sticking their heads inside the cornucopia and other times playfully pushing each other out of the way. Typically, Poppy and Lavender’s meals include ground meat, frozen mice, fruits and vegetables.
“Wild badgers like to eat stuff that humans typically don’t like, including moles, snakes and spiders,” said Mello.
Badgers in the wild will often hunt small rodents by trapping them in their own underground dens and then digging them out.
“The river otters eat the most of all the wetland animals,” said Mello. “The combination of swimming in cold water and being so active means they need more calories.”
Three times a day, the river otters feast on ground meat, dry chow and a variety of fish, like salmon, trout, mackerel and herring. Each type of fish offers its own different set of nutritional values for the otters.
Of course, otters tend to enjoy all enrichment items and seemed to have a blast swimming around and playing with their cornucopia.
Thistle the porcupine loves corn on the cob, not just at Thanksgiving but year-round. Corn is definitely his favorite food, said Mello. He also eats tree branches, rodent chow, leaf eater chow, yams, carrots, apples and pears.