Good things come in small packages at Werribee Open Range Zoo
Some of Werribee Open Range Zoo’s precious animals have again shown that good things come in small packages.
This week, the Zoo’s native Long-nosed potoroos and Tammar wallabies received an interesting selection of creatively packaged foods from their keepers – aimed at providing choice while encouraging the animals’ natural foraging behaviours.
And while keepers expected the large carved-out pumpkin full of high-value treats to get the most interest, it was the smaller vegetable-filled corn husk parcels that took the fancy of the curious animals.
Werribee Open Range Zoo Natives keeper Danielle Ridgway said it was interesting to see how the animals responded to different types of enrichment when provided with choice.
“Sometimes a food item you make will be an absolute hit, but other times it might not be that popular,” Ms Ridgway said. “Today is a great example of spending a lot of time carving a pumpkin and the potoroos not necessarily enjoying it.
“The small corn husk parcels, however, were a success. They spent a lot of time unpacking and digging into them.
“It’s pretty funny and it’s a challenge but it’s all part of the job. It’s why we love what we do.”
Ms Ridgway said the creative food options also provided a fantastic way to mentally stimulate and challenge the animals.
“This type of enrichment encourages the potoroos and wallabies to work for their food by using their forepaws and nose to sniff through and find the yummy treats inside,” she said.
Long-nosed potoroos and Tammar wallabies are Australian native species. The zoo is home to two potoroos and 13 wallabies.
While Werribee Open Range Zoo is temporarily closed to members and visitors, animal lovers at home can stay connected with the Zoo’s lions through Zoos Victoria’s live stream cameras at www.zoo.org.au/animals-at-home