Flamingo Land Zoo column with Lindsay Taylor

Flamingo Land's giant African land snails tuck into their pumpkin.
Flamingo Land's giant African land snails tuck into their pumpkin.

At Flamingo Land, we have been very busy with Halloween activities! One which was on offer to the visitors was to carve a pumpkin.

This proved to be a very popular family activity as both adults and children were able to get involved.

Once the visitors had carved the pumpkin they could either take the pumpkin home with them or leave it here for us to give to the animals. Many of our guests staying at the Holiday Village decided to take theirs with them to decorate their caravans and log cabins.

The pumpkins which were left for the zoo animals were distributed to our mongoose, hogs, lemurs, lorikeets and snails. This is the only time of year the zoo animals receive pumpkin therefore it is a great form of enrichment for them.

The appearance and smell of the pumpkin is very novel, therefore attracts the animals’ attention and many are curious and go to investigate what the mysterious object is!

Depending on the animal, some may choose to eat it, some will play with it, while others will climb on it or completely destroy it.

Regardless of how the animals respond to it, the pumpkin provides them with something new to investigate during their day.

The giant African land snails are herbivores, meaning that they have a varied diet consisting of fruit, vegetables and leaves.

They possess a radula which they use during eating. This is a small spikey structure in their mouth which acts a bit like a cheese grater.

As soon as the pumpkin was placed into their vivarium, the snails were curious to investigate. They’re not the fastest of animals, however they were soon eating, climbing on and going in through the mouth of the pumpkin to explore it!

Snails are classified as gastropods along with slugs and limpets. They have some organs in the same way in which humans would; a stomach, liver, kidney, heart, lung.

They do not possess veins and arteries but have an open circulatory system instead.

Their eyes are only very simple and are located on the top of two long tentacles and they are unable to hear.