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Eating for Two

hay for nikki

Carrying Hay for Nikki

Commissary keeper Michael Berry came by this morning and dropped off produce and hay to rhino keeper Renee Carpenter for Nikki.  The Zoo’s commissary delivers fresh produce to the rhino barn every day and hay is supplied twice a week.  Because rhinos eat a lot of hay, today we unloaded a lot of it!

Nikki eats bamboo leaves

Nikki eats bamboo leaves

Nikki has an important job to do, not only is she pregnant for 16 months, but she will give birth to a 100-lb baby!  Our Curator of Nutrition, Barbara Henry, specially designed a balanced diet to make sure Nikki gets all the nutrients she needs during her pregnancy.  Indian rhino are herbivores or vegetarians.  In the wild, Indian rhinos eat grass, fruit, leaves, branches and aquatic plants.  They use their prehensile lip to curl around branches and bring them into their mouth.  Nikki’s daily diet consists of ¾ of a bale of timothy grass hay (34lbs), 10 lbs of specially formulated nutritionally complete herbivore pellets, 6 apples, 6 bananas and 6 carrots.  Nikki is also given special treats during training or medical procedures, like ultrasound exams.  These treats include horse apple oat biscuits, alfalfa hay and Nikki’s absolute favorite…..PEANUT BUTTER.


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