Animals at zoo enjoying tasty snack: cicadas

The animals at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore are eating really well these days -- all thanks to the cicadas.
The animals at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore are eating really well these days -- all thanks to the cicadas.

BALTIMORE (WBAL) — The animals at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore are eating really well these days — all thanks to the cicadas.

Some of the animals are enjoying the cicadas like fine dining, while others are simply unimpressed.

“It’s like a big snack bar,” the zoo’s assistant general curator, Margaret Innes, said.

Feeding time has become any time thanks to the Brood X cicadas.

“Pretty much everybody is eating cicadas right now,” Innes said. “The birds are enjoying the cicadas, for sure. They will forage for them in their habitats. And our mammals and reptiles are also eating them. We do collect them up and feed them to our reptiles — snakes, lizards, frogs, turtles. Everybody is getting some cicadas this year.”

Not all of the animals love the cicadas. The prairie dogs might not be so interested, the chimps and the elephants just swat them away. But the keepers do have to pay attention to certain factors.

“We don’t want the animals to eat too many because that could be unhealthy for them, and they can also become impacted, especially smaller animals, if they were to gorge themselves,” Innes said.

So it’s nature enjoying nature, at least for a little while longer.

“Just like the zoo animals, enjoy the cicadas while they’re here, don’t let them bug you too much and they’ll be gone soon for another 17 years,” Innes said.

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