Can I feed the animals?

Please don’t feed the animals!

This request is made for a very good reason. For the welfare of our animals, only Zoo keepers are allowed to feed the animals at Perth Zoo.

The diet of an animal in a facility such as Perth Zoo is very carefully managed, right down to the last gram. Experienced veterinary and keeping staff devise a nutritionally balanced, diverse diet for each of the 1800 animals in the zoo to keep them in the best of health.

Additional food items such as chips, lollies, bread, nuts and even fruit can be disastrous for some animals if thrown into their exhibits. Human stomachs have developed to cope with spicy, salty, greasy and sugary foods but the average mammal, reptile and bird stomach has not.

Ignoring our request not to feed the animals could mean sickness and even death for your favourite animal.

Animal diets

There are many different foods and diets for the Zoo’s animals. The Zoo’s weekly grocery list looks a little bit like this:

 

Annual food figures (approximate)
Apples 40,000kg
Rockmelons 150 cartons
Pears 7,500 kg
Celery 300 crates
Bananas 11,000kg
Broccoli 150 cartons
Paw Paw 100 cartons
Sweet Potatoes 6,500kg
Grapes 50 cartons
Tomatoes 2,000 kg
Hay 3,000 bales
Beefhearts 5 Tonne
Grain 50 Tonne
Eggs 3,000 dozen
Chickens 40,000
Crickets 2,500 (per week)
Fish 6 Tonne
Mealworms 4kg (per week)

The Zoo’s weekly food bill for the animals is around $5000. The Zoo’s purchasing officer buys fish, meat, bread, fruit and vegetables daily from local markets. Cut leaves from plants — or ‘fodder’ — are generally sourced from within the Zoo’s extensive gardens and from the gardens of people in the community. A list of fodder that the Zoo uses is here.

The Zoo’s smallest eaters include the Western Swamp Tortoises who eat brine shrimp and some birds who enjoy fly larvae, and the largest includes the Southern White Rhinoceros who consume around 10kg of lucerne chaff, 7kg of horse-feed pellets and 4kg of carrots per day… each! Fresh produce is supplemented with calcium and vitamin additives where necessary. The meals are prepared daily by Zoo Keepers in food preparation areas. All perishable food is stored in freezers and cool rooms.

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