Animal Food

As a not-for-profit, non tax-supported entity, the Dakota Zoo relies on admissions, memberships, donations and the sale of animals to other institutions for the bulk of our funding. Your visit to the Dakota Zoo helps us feed our more than 600 mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects. Our “grocery bill” for animal feed and care totals more than $65,000 a year. And what a shopping list! Here are a few facts and figures about the foods our wild residents enjoy.

Did you know?

  • That an adult moose consumes over $4000 worth of delicious, nutritious moose chow in a single year.

  • That each of our tigers eats as much as 10 pounds of specially mixed ground beef every day. That’s a $10,000 yearly dinner tab for our two big cats.

  • That one full grown grizzly bear can easily polish off 60 pounds of grapes (their favorites), apples, dog chow, meat, pears, squash, watermelon, bread & lettuce per day. Thank goodness much of our produce is generously donated by Dan’s Supermarket.

  • That monkeys eat primarily Monkey Chow, with a smattering of fruits and vegetables thrown in for variety. This special diet costs up to $350 per monkey, per year, and we have plenty of primates!

  • Tarantulas, scorpions, snakes and lizards prefer to nosh on live farm raised crickets. We go through about $750 worth of the little critters each year.

  • That our dedicated staff of Zookeepers are always seeking ways to enrich our animals lives by changing the configuration of perches and other exhibit features, adding bongo balls or other enrichment toys to their environment and by presenting them with challenging opportunities such as the opportunity to figure out a puzzle feeder to obtain their favorite treats, in addition to their normal diet.