TYLER (KYTX) - Have you ever wondered what's on the menu at zoos? Well it's a lot more than peanuts and popcorn. This week on J.B.'s Journals, we'll take you in the kitchen at Tyler's Caldwell Zoo to show you how they prepare and serve a nutritious and tasty meal each day.
"About 20 pounds of grain, 20 pounds of produce, 3 bales of hay, half bale of alfalfa." That's how much food Jud Phillips, Caldwell Zoo Commissary Manager says Rolinda, Tonya and Binti, Caldwell Zoo's, three African Elephants, scoop up all day long.
"They eat quite a bit, biggest food bill out here," added Scotty Stainback, Caldwell's Curator of Mammals.
Seven days a week, the zoo's commissary staff chops, grinds, and measures out nutritious food for 2,000 animals. Each diet is carefully prepared to what they would eat in the wild.
"This is like a restaurant?" Sheriff J.B. Smith asked.
"Yes," Phillips responded. "We use restaurant quality food, we do not take seconds or donations from anything."
So what's on the zoo's weekly grocery list?
"850 pounds of fruits and vegetables a week, 5 cases of grains, 450 rats a week and 5000 worms. The mill worms are the only food served, while still moving," said Phillips. "One of the most tedious diets is the otter diet, we make a meat loaf with 80 pounds of meat."
The black and white colobus monkeys have lots of items on their menu. "They get 3 fruits, 3 vegetables, bread, egg, greens, peanuts and monkey chow at night," Phillips added.
Monkey biscuits, fed to all monkeys at Caldwell Zoo, has the proper vitamins, minerals, little banana flavor. "I'm going to leave it to the monkeys," Sheriff Smith said.
The white tigers, Willie and Meka, know, when it's feeding time.
"With majority of animals, fed twice a day, some once a day, just varies species to species," said Stainback.
Watching the animals eat, like Sid the King Vulture, also lets the staff know if the animal is healthy.
Everything at the zoo is different, from alligators up to elephants. It's a complete operation round the clock, 365 days a year."
One interesting note, the alligators only eat six months out of the year as they hibernate in the winter months and usually will let the zookeepers know when they are ready to eat again.