Albuquerque zoo animals eat 70,000 mice a year

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The Albuquerque BioPark has a lot of mouths to feed.

KRQE News 13 found out how much food the animals at the zoo eat.

From a freezer full of fish and rodents to a stock room of dry goods, when it’s feeding time at the ABQ BioPark the diet room is where everything begins.

“We go through a lot of food. The total tonnage is ridiculous and we keep adding,” said ABQ Biopark Head Veterinarian Ralph Zimmerman.

The seals and sea lions go through hundreds of pounds of fish like herring and squid each week.

Animals at the BioPark eat about 72,000 pounds of fish each year. The cost for all of it is about $110,000.

When it comes to meat, carnivores like the big cats have a ferocious appetite.

They eat a majority of the nearly 30,000 pounds of meat the BioPark buys each year.

The Tasmanian Devils get their own kind of grub. On Friday, a pair of zookeepers fed them whole quails.

The animal with the most expensive diet is the Koala, Luke.

The zoo has eucalyptus shipped in from Arizona and Florida for him.

However, a lot of the animals aren’t too picky. They like to eat their fruits and vegetables.

“A lot of them have a sweet tooth,” said Zimmerman.

That’s why employees have pie filling and cereal on hand.

“When you see the apes out there eating cardboard, it’s not just the cardboard. There is something hiding in there,” he said.

There are also crickets and worms hiding in a lot of the exhibits.

Birds and reptiles devour more than 500,000 of them every year.

The animals also eat about 12,000 rats and 70,000 mice a year.

“The bottom line is health and welfare of everybody here and whatever it takes to keep them eating,” said Zimmerman.

The zoo has food contracts with companies all over the United States.

It spends about $500,000 on food annually.

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