Tallinn Zoo celebrated Ice Cream Day on Saturday, when animals and visitors alike had the chance to cool off with frozen treats.
The zoo's feed kitchen prepared special ice cream and popsicles containing frozen species-appropriate goodies for the animals, which had to work to get to them.
Among the animals to be given frozen treats on Saturday were South American coati, parrots, meerkats, chimpanzees, raccoons and lions.
Upon seeing his treat, Griša, an elderly stump-tailed macaque, forgot his manners and dove headfirst into his bowl. While the neighboring lion was given frozen blood, for example, Griša was given genuine vanilla ice cream, the same kind as anyone can buy at the supermarket.
Wild game handler Nikolai Žirkov told ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera" that monkeys largely eat the same things that humans do, except for meat, which is why it is okay to give them actual, pure ice cream.
"Pure [ice cream] isn't harmful," Žirkov said. "They are given limited portions, and it is made with cream and everything is natural. This isn't bad [for you]; we just need to give them reasonable portions."
Monkeys are fed once per day, and their daily menu is exemplary of healthy eating, including lots of fruits and vegetables, and a little bit of farmer's cheese. For Ice Cream Day, their fruit chunks were frozen into popsicles, which proved for an enriching treat.
The animals aren't banned from playing with their food. In fact, their ice cream and popsicles are designed to allow for as much play as possible.
Griša went for the ice cream first, leaving the frozen fruits offered to him for later.
Kids enjoy ice cream too
Visitors to the zoo got in on Ice Cream Day as well. Ten-year-old Natalie, a self-described sweet tooth, admitted that she eats ice cream fairly often. She added that she didn't like the thought of only being allowed her favorite ice cream, with chocolate bits, once a year one bit.
That being said, she also couldn't imagine playing with her ice cream, even if she were allowed by her parents to do so.
Of the animals she had seen thus far, Natalie liked the lioness the best. "Because she was so funny when she played with [her ice cream]," she explained. "And she was so beautiful."
Editor: Aili Vahtla