New York Zoo Animals to Squish Surplus Pumpkins

A North China leopard sniffs at a carved Halloween pumpkin stuffed with its favorite food. (AP Photo/MTI, Attila Balazs)

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By Kelli Sutterman

SYRACUSE, New York (AP) — A zoo in upstate New York has come up with a way to dispose of surplus pumpkins left over from Halloween: Give them to the animals.

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse is holding its annual "Squishing of the Squash" this weekend. Between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, zoo visitors can watch more than 20 species of animals stomp, romp and chomp on gourds of varying size and shape.

Lions, tigers and bears — and condors, wolves and otters — are among the animals getting pumpkins delivered to their exhibits.

Zoo officials say the Asian elephants get to pulverize a pumpkin of pachyderm proportion: a 1,200-pounder donated by a grower from suburban Fayetteville.

The penguins aren't being left out. Members of the National Aquatic Service will be carving a pumpkin under water in the penguin pool.

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