Behavioral enrichment ... at mealtime

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As the seasons change, the Animal Diet Technicians have the opportunity to use seasonal produce in the diet.

It is often asked if seasonal produce can be requested as enrichment. The answer is often yes and no.

Seasonal produce is always included in the diet as variety provided by Animal Nutrition Services. Variety alone may not be considered enrichment.

For a food item to be considered enrichment it must stimulate the senses in a way that is different from normal and/or extend the amount of time the animal spends foraging.

The same, consistent, variety looses its enriching value over time.

A good way to think about food as enrichment is how the animal will interact differently with this item, as opposed to the normal diet. If the answer is that the behavior will be different, then there is a good chance that the item will be considered enrichment.

The Phoenix Zoo is located at 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. Rain or shine, the zoo is open every day except Christmas Day (Dec. 25). Regular-season hours (Sept. 1-May 31) are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Summer hours (June 1-Aug. 31) are 7 a.m.-1 p.m. during the week and 7 a.m.-4 p.m. on the weekends Admission is $14 for adults, $6 for children and $9 for seniors. For more information, call 602-273-1341 or visit .