23 October 2023

Sumatran tigers, okapis, Galapagos tortoises and a Komodo dragon embraced this spooky season at London Zoo today, as zookeepers put the animals’ fearsome foraging skills to the test with creepy carved pumpkins stuffed with their favourite treats.  

Zookeepers carved petrifying pumpkins for some of the 14,000 incredible animals who call London Zoo home, with many of the pumpkins harvested from the conservation zoo’s own community garden, a shared space open to ZSL's Community Access Scheme partners. 

The conservation zoo’s playful tiger teens, Zac and Crispin, followed a cinnamon and nutmeg scent trail through Tiger Territory, leading the pair to a petrifying pile of giant gourds. The critically endangered cats dug their claws into their Halloween treat, before 1.5-meter long Komodo dragon Khaleesi clamped her 60 serrated, shark-like teeth around a meat-filled pumpkin of her own.  

Joining the ghoulish fun, London Zoo’s Galapagos tortoises, Polly, Dolly and Priscilla, chomped away at jack o'lanterns, before okapis, Oni and Ede, wrapped their bewitching black tongues - which can stretch to an incredible 30cm - around hand-carved gourds, to find their breakfast.  

Two okapis eating a pumpkin at London Zoo
A Sumatran tiger sinks his teeth into a pumpkin at London Zoo
A Galapagos tortoise sinks her teeth into a pumpkin at London Zoo
A Komodo dragon with a pumpkin at London Zoo

London Zoo’s Zoological Operations Manager Dan Simmonds said: “Families have been flocking to London Zoo this week for our famous Boo at the Zoo half-term celebrations, and our zookeepers want to make sure the animals don’t miss out on the Halloween fun. With pumpkins in season, they are a sustainable snack for some of the animals, while others just love tearing them apart.” 

“Just like siblings after an evening trick-or-treating, our tiger teenagers Zac and Crispin weren't particularly keen to share their spooky squashes with each other, preferring to play with their food before they ate it.” 

London Zoo is home to an incredible 386 species, many of which are threatened or extinct in the wild and part of vital conservation programmes. The conservation zoo participates in collaborative global breeding programmes - such as the Sumatran tiger breeding programme, which is managed by ZSL – working with zoos across the world to care for a healthy back-up population of some of the world’s most threatened species. 

Head to London Zoo this October half-term for Boo at the Zoo - a spell-binding wildlife-filled family day out. Under 3s go for free, so book your tickets today. 

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  • An Asian otter puts its paw into the eye hole of a medium-sized carved orange Halloween pumpkin
    Boo at the Zoo

    Halloween at London Zoo

    Trick-or-treat yourselves to a visit to London Zoo this October half term to enjoy traditional Halloween crafts, hair-raising animal facts and ghoul school.

  • Sumatran tiger Gaysha walking in her Tiger Territory home at London Zoo
    Panthera tigris tigris

    Sumatran tiger

    Sumatran tigers are smallest and rarest tiger, and they have the deepest orange colour of all the tiger subspecies.

  • Komodo dragon at London Zoo
    Varanus komodoensis

    Komodo dragon

    The largest and heaviest reptile in the world, which can eat up to 80% of its body weight in just one feeding.

  • Okapi at London Zoo
    Okapia johnstoni


    The okapi was first discovered by the western world by ZSL fellow, Sir Harry Johnston, in 1901 but what else do we know about this extraordinary and shy creature?

  • Two Galapagos tortoises at London Zoo
    Chelonoidis sp.

    Galapagos tortoise

    With a lifespan of 177 years old, some Galapagos tortoises alive today would have around since before the American civil war. 

  • Visit our amazing animals at London Zoo
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