As chocolate eggs fly off the shelves in supermarkets and families stock up on roast dinner essentials, the animals at a zoo in Sussex have been celebrating the Easter holiday in a more unusual way, with themed ‘egg-richment’ activities for their annual Zoo Easter photoshoot!

Zookeepers at Drusillas Zoo Park offered their monkeys, mongooses, lemurs, binturongs, armadillos, and capybaras colourful eggs and giant carrot pinatas filled with bugs, popcorn, nuts, and veggies in place of traditional chocolate.

The activity, as well as producing fun seasonal photos, forms part of the zoo’s daily enrichment programmes which aim to encourage animals to investigate, explore and interact with new and unusual items. Each day in the zoo, the 800+ animals are offered new food items, puzzles, and activities to keep their minds and bodies stimulated and healthy.

Head keeper, Gemma Romanis, talked about the activity: “Just like we would get bored doing the same thing day in and day out, animals need new and exciting things in their day to keep them stimulated, much like your pets at home. In addition, introducing new and unusual things helps encourage them to use natural and instinctive behaviours such as recognising scents, foraging, and problem solving. If we just handed them food in the same way every day, they would lose their natural abilities.”

Gemma continued; “It’s always great fun during the holidays to theme our enrichment and it’s fascinating to see how the different species react to the same stimulus. For example, our capybaras were a little hesitant and did lots of tentative sniffing before they interacted, our binturong, Penh, took his time trying to problem solve the best way to get to the treats, but our squirrel monkeys just started grabbing things in a chaotic manner, which is their usual tactic for everything!”

Drusillas, who offer adventure play, family rides, splash pad, and dinosaur walk-through in addition to the Zoo, are also gearing up for a new Easter Egg Trail offered in the Park’s app for the Easter break, with giant eggs hidden in some of the animal enclosures.