Elephants at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm have smashing time with pumpkin lunch

Shaka arrived at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in 2018 from Tiergarten Schönbrunn in Vienna. Credit: Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

This is what happens when you let elephants loose on giant pumpkins.

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm decided to give three of their biggest animals a smashing treat.

They were left in their enclosure by keepers, who said the elephants enjoyed squashing the pumpkins with their feet and trunks as part of their enrichment activities.

M'Changa is 11 years old but is still considered one of the youngest bulls in the group. Credit: Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

They might not look big compared to the elephants, but these pumpkins weight in at 14 stone each.

Luke Downs from Taunton specifically grew the squashes for Shaka, M’Changa and Janu. The dominant elephant will usually be the first to eat so Shaka, the oldest, sauntered over slowly to assess the situation. He was followed soon after by the two smaller and younger elephants M’Changa and Janu.

Shaka is the dominant bull and therefore in the bull group. What he says goes. If he’d have got to all of them first, he would have eaten them all. Luckily for M’Changa and Janu, he walked the long way around the enclosure and so the young ones got to enjoy a pumpkin together before he got there.

Sandra De Rek, Head Elephant Keeper at the zoo
Janu (above) and M’Changa waited for Shaka to approach the pumpkins first. Credit: Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

Elephants usually eat 150kg of food a day. Swapping carrots for pumpkins gives the mammals a chance to use their trunks, tusks and feet to break up the giant squashes to make them bitesize.