Zookeepers coaxed a shy animal out of its shell with a kebab breakfast at Drusilla’s.
But the unusual creatures, called binturongs, were not served with a greasy doner, but healthy vegetable snacks.
Keepers skewered an alternating mix of courgette, peppers, sweet potato and carrots onto long twigs to make up the delicious treat.
Mating pair Angkor and Penh could barely contain their excitement and began hurriedly pulling the veg from the skewers before staff even had time to put them down.
Head keeper Mark Kenward, said, “Delivering our animals’ meals in imaginative and unusual ways is part of the zoo’s daily enrichment programme. This ensures they receive a varied and diverse diet, as well as encouraging them to think and work for their food as they would in the wild.
“Vegetables make the ideal animal snack. They are a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, as well as containing very little in the way of sugar.
“We are very proud to be a fruit-free zoo and to be able to say that all of our animals are on vegetable based diets.”
In the wild, binturongs can be found roaming the tropical rainforests of south-east Asia. These unusual animals are happiest in the treetops, where they move from branch to branch using their tail like an extra hand.
They usually live either on their own or in small family groups. Despite also being known as bearcats, binturongs are actually related to neither bears nor cats.
Mark Kenward, said, “Binturongs really are amazing animals. Bizarrely, they always smell really strongly of popcorn!
“Although the reason they smell so good is not that pleasant… the smell actually comes from their wee! Maybe not something you want to think about whilst eating your butterkist!
“Angkor and Penh’s reaction to the kebabs was fantastic. They are usually very shy, but they were straight in there and grabbing at the veg – there was no time wasted! This enrichment activity was very successful and we will definitely be doing it again.”
Located just off the A27 in Alfriston, Drusillas Park is open daily from 10am. For more information, call 01323 874100 or visit www.drusillas.co.uk