HAMLIN, Pa. — Christmas trees are piled up in the parking lot outside of Claws 'N' Paws Wild Animal Park near Hamlin. Each year, the park asks people to donate trees that are free of decorations and don't have any chemical sprays or fake snow. The park says big or small, they'll take all the trees they can get for the couple hundred animals that live at the park.
"We do use a lot," said zookeeper Leah Kasheta. "The petting area can go through four in two days, so we do appreciate any donation we can get, whether it's big or small."
Newswatch 16 cameras tagged along as trees were given to the animals. Some were unsure of the trees, but others were quite interested.
"The larger animals, such as the cats, or the wolves, they just like to sniff them, sometimes rolling them or even just tear them up."
The Christmas trees are also great for the animals' enrichment and for keeping their brains busy.
"We like to throw treats in there so that they have to dig through and find their foods. So again, it keeps them busy, gives them something to do. And for the rodents, such as the porcupines or the beavers, they just like to chew on them. It's really good for their teeth," Kasheta explained.
This was the first time some young caracals were getting a tree as they're new to the park. Curiosity definitely got the better of these cats inspecting what this new thing was.
"Any first for an animal is a big deal for us here — their first winter, their first Christmas tree, or first anything, so it was really exciting to see how much they enjoyed it."
If you want to donate your tree for the animals, you can drop trees off at the park any day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
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