Sunday, November 16, 2014

Some Animals Have Picky Eating Habits...and These Guys Are No Exception

There is this hilarious thing floating around the Internetz about toddlers' weird eating habits.  If you haven't seen it, you can check it out here.  But basically, it is photo after photo of grumpy-looking young'uns and a brief, quippy description of their quirky nourishment conundrums.

I don't blame you, kid.

I laughed at it not only because it was funny, but because I feel like I deal with that on a daily basis with the animals under my care.  Any of us in the zoological field can relate to this, I think.   What's kind of bizarre about the fact that many animals are as picky of eaters as human toddlers is that one of the criticisms of zoos and aquariums (especially those of us who train our animals) is that the animals are coerced to do things solely because of food.   That is, the animal does something he/she wouldn't normally want to do because he or she is so hungry, they'll do anything to get fed.

I know a few animals who will do just about anything for snacks.  But they are not as common as the animals who are either more interested in the other stuff of training/animal care (like relationship, toys, tactile, etc), or the ones who are just downright weird in their eating habits.  In some cases, it ain't easy to feed a picky animal. 

Animals are just as varied in their personalities and eating habits as are humans; some of it is innate, and some of it is learned (from their conspecifics or humans caring for them).   Whether picky, normal, or downright bizarre in their chosen fare, animals are nary the same in their dietary choices.

But enough of the serious stuff, let's get to the funnies.  Here are some examples of odd eaters I have had the pleasure of knowing.

Picky eaters are one of life's little joys when you care for someone else, human or non-human.  I think it's a fun way to peer into the animal's personality or history, or at the very least it's a good way to get to know him or her as you work through it.  Some pickiness is quirky, while others require immediate attention.  But to feed an animal is not as simple as placing a bowl, or dangling a fish right in front of a hungry face.  In many cases, it requires a lot of knowledge and patience to adequately serve our animal friends.

What say you, good readers! Do you have any funny weirdo-animal eating anecdotes?  Share!


  1. One of our penguins only likes pregnant fish!

  2. One of our penguins likes us to toss the fish onto the ground so he can go chase after it....