Elephants at Zoo Knoxville eat two massive pumpkins

Two elephants at Zoo Knoxville ate two massive pumpkins on Thursday afternoon.

KNOXVILLE - Two elephants at Zoo Knoxville ate and smashed two massive pumpkins on Thursday morning.

Each pumpkin weighed more than 1,100 pounds with the larger of the two weighing 1,472 pounds. The zoo's largest elephant Tonka weighs 15,000 pounds, and is the largest bull elephant in the U.S.

"We came up with the idea of getting some giant pumpkins from a local farmer to put out here with our elephants, and see what they're going to do with them," said Zoo Knoxville animals director Phil Colclough.

Colclough said the zoo provides all of its animal with "enrichment," which he described as an activity something outside an animal's regular routine.

"It's the first time we've ever done this with giant pumpkins," Colclough said. "They love smaller pumpkins."

A farmer in Oneida donated the two pumpkins to Zoo Knoxville.

Zoo Knoxville director of communications Tina Rolen said workers at the zoo have to clean up as much elephant waste as the amount of pumpkin eaten.

"We don't think there's any danger of upsetting his stomach," Rolen said. "They can eat produce."

Rolen said the elephants get pumpkin as part of their regular diet.

Colclough said the Oregon Zoo has had its elephants squish giant pumpkins before.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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