Elephants at Schönbrunn enjoy a piney post-Christmas snack

The elephants at Schönbrunn Palace were treated to a pointy, green snack on Tuesday morning. According to tradition, the Christmas trees from major Christmas markets around Vienna are given to animals at the palace zoo at the end of every holiday season.

Elephants at Schönbrunn enjoy a piney post-Christmas snack
Photo: Tiergarten Schönbrunn/Norbert Potensky
Due to the unappealing freezing conditions outside, the pack of pachyderms had to be coaxed out of their nest with a trail of carrots that lead to their special snack. Their thick skin served as good protection as they munched on the hefty serving of Christmas trees in the open air. 
“It is really something extraordinary for them, because it takes them quite a while to get through such a large portion”, said elephant keeper Andreas Buberl in an interview with APA. The 18-meter tall spruce from Tyrol will be consumed by the elephant family over the following days, starting with the branches, then onto the bark, and finally they will sink their tusks into the trunk. Once they've feasted enough, the elephants will use the remaining pieces as toys until the spring, while eating their usual diet of hay, twigs, fruit, and vegetables. 
Other animals at the zoo were also served up to 150 smaller Christmas saplings, much to the delight of the rhinos, zebras and water buffalo that inhabit the palace grounds. 

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