Mouse Melons For Lemurs And Elephants At Howletts

Wed, 07/11/2012 - 4:59pm

Keepers were delighted to offer the lemurs and elephants at Howletts Wild Animal Park, near Canterbury, some mouse melons kindly donated by Victoriana Nursery Gardens.

Mouse melons are cousins to cucumbers, a strong flavoured Mexican fruit that got their name from a close resemblance to watermelons.

Mark Kingston Jones, Education Supervisor said: ‘‘Stephen, Serena, Molly and Milly from Victoriana Nursery Gardens have donated us lots of plants and herbs in the past, as part of our ongoing enrichment programs but these unusual mouse melons have to be the strangest donation yet! Some of the lemurs and elephants really enjoyed them, but others were not so sure and spat them out – they must be the fruit version of marmite!’

The mouse melons, grown by Milly (aged seven) were donated as part of the monthly theme – Tickling The Tastebuds at Howletts which runs throughout November, and aims to highlight and educate visitors about the various dietary requirements of the animals, including fun facts such as how much can an elephant eat in a day? Do lemurs prefer fruit to vegetables?

Milly said: ‘I decided to grow mouse melons because they are crazy, different and exotic – I’ve never grown an exotic before and I wondered if the elephants would like them or if the rumour was true that they didn’t like mice or mouse melons!’