Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
How do we feed the animals at @smithsonianzoo? It's not that different than running a fine dining restaurant.
The Zoo uses restaurant-grade produce. Early-morning deliveries include fresh fruits, vegetables, meat—and crickets.
But we also have farm-to-table dining, and grow all our own hay, plus corn and mountains of bamboo to feed the pandas.
Here, playing with your food is a good thing. Popcorn is popular for encouraging natural foraging behavior in apes. They spend hours picking through the grasses of their exhibits to find individual pieces, helping them stay mentally stimulated and engaged in their surroundings.
Condiments can go a long way in jazzing up less-than-appetizing ingredients. Elephants enjoy a dash of hot sauce, and variety ensures that the more than 1,800 animals get a meal they'll love.