Sloths' Pancake Day Treat
Pancakes were the dish of the day for sloths, Flash and Gordon, at Drusillas Park, as zoo keepers served up an early Pancake Day feast to mark the Shrove Tuesday tradition.
Tossing aside the conventional recipe, the savoury style crepes were created from sweet potato topped with a sprinkling of sweetcorn, and served to the hungry pair in a frying pan by Deputy Head Keeper, Sophie Leadbitter.
Sweet potato is a sloth favourite, and provides vital nutrients to these wonderfully lazy animals. The platter was cleared in surprising speed for a sloth, proving that this was one pancake treat that did not fall flat.
Head Keeper, Mark Kenward, commented: “As we are a fruit-free zoo, something like sweet potato makes the perfect treat for our animals. All fruit items have been removed from our plant-eater’s diets completely and replaced by vegetable alternatives.”
“The reason for this is that the fruit cultivated for our own consumption is much sweeter, higher in calories and lower in fibre than that which the animals would naturally eat in the wild. This is not only bad for their waistlines; it is also bad for their teeth. We might love a sweet, sugary Pancake Day treat, but this would just be no good for the health of our animals.”
Delivering the animals’ meals in imaginative and unusual ways is part of the zoo’s daily enrichment programme. This ensures they receive a varied and diverse diet, as well as encouraging them to think and work for their food as they would in the wild.
Deputy Head Keeper, Sophie Leadbitter, remarked: “We work hard in the zoo to deliver food and other items of interest to the animals in ways that will keep them mentally stimulated. Although sloths are typically very slow and quiet animals, they are curious and will investigate things that catch their attention; especially if these things turn out to be food.”
“Flash was straight in there to grab the sweet potato pancakes, and she made light work of the offering as well – she didn’t leave too much for poor sleepy Gordon!”
Watch Flash try out her treat here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgnvQjjXLnM