WHILE most of us are being forced to spend Halloween at home, animals at the Cotswold Wildlife Park are making the most of the spooky day by enjoying a few treats of their own.

Keepers at the zoo, near Burford, are always keen to involve their guests in festivities – whether that be eggs at Easter or seasonal treats at Christmas – so wasted no time in carving pumpkins for some of their charges.

Meerkats, armadillos and tamanduas – a small variety of anteater – are among the creatures having a beastly time with their scary snacks.

Chris Kibbey, the park’s Head of Primates and Small Mammals, said: “The clocks have gone back, the leaves are falling off the trees and keepers are able to show off their carving skills.

“This time of year is a good opportunity to provide some seasonal enrichment for some of our animals and pumpkins are great.

“They can be hollowed out, carved with a scary (or smiley) face and some of the animal’s favourite treats hidden inside.

“The tamandua enjoyed using their long sticky tongue to slurp up mealworms in their pumpkin, with Orinoco dominating the occasion.

“The meerkats also had mealworms in theirs, although being omnivorous, supplemented their diet with some pumpkin flesh too. Even Boots the armadillo couldn’t resist the temptation.”

Oxford Mail:

A tamandua is a type of anteater, also known as the lesser anteater because it is much smaller than its relative - the giant anteater. The tamanduas and armadillos live in one of the park’s newest exhibits in the walled garden – the Tamandua House, which opened last year.

The pair of female Tito and male Orinoco were introduced to each other last spring and were joined shortly afterwards by the park’s boisterous pair of armadillos – a female called Boots and her companion Ray.

Armadillo is a Spanish word meaning ‘little armoured one’ and refers to the bony plates that cover the back, head, legs, and tail of most of the odd looking creatures.

Oxford Mail:

The wildlife park’s Debbie Ryan said the animals had enjoyed the treats, adding it had been an entirely new experience for some.

She said:”It’s the first time we’ve treated the tamandua pair and armadillos to pumpkins. They loved it!”