Keepers Stock Up Much to Monkeys’ Re-Leaf!
Take a look in the zoo freezers at Drusillas Park in East Sussex and together with a number of more usual food items for the animals, you will also discover a large helping of frozen leaves!
This is because the zoo keepers have been out and about collecting enough foliage to satisfy their leaf eating primates during the winter months. Although there is a huge supply during the summer, the zoo team need to plan ahead to ensure lots of leafy leftovers later in the year too.
The zoo’s family of colobus monkeys rely on this as their diet is made up almost entirely of leaves, with additional roughage provided from vegetables.
Their complex digestive system works like that of a cow; they have three or four different chambers and lots of bacteria to help break down their food. This process can often make them burp.
To accommodate their needs, the zoo team have filled the freezers high with hazel, willow and sweet chestnut tree branches. They just strip the leaves and freeze them until they are needed. How’s that for a bit of batch cooking.