Western lowland gorilla Moke eating a snack How do you create a menu that is pleasing to the palates of giant pandas, flamingos and fishing cats? With more than 2,700 mouths to feed among 390 species, the Department of Nutrition Science whips up science-based bites for the Zoo’s carnivores, herbivores and everyone in between. Learn what goes into this massive meal prep from animal keeper Jen Rhodes as she dishes on a day in the life of a Commissary keeper! You may have never stepped foot into the Commissary, but if you’ve ever visited the Zoo on a busy day, chances are you have stepped on top of it. Nestled underneath Parking Lot C, the Commissary is where we store and prepare food for all of our residents. In this photo, keeper Nick Schiraldi loads a cart full of pelleted feed to be delivered to the animals. Dry foods such as pellets and biscuits are fortified with nutrients to ensure animals are getting their daily dose of vitamins and minerals. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is the only zoo in the country to grow all of its own hay. At the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) […]


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