Stockings and puddings as London Zoo animals get Christmas treats

LONDON (Reuters) - From an advent calendar filled with Brussels sprouts to breakfast served in a stocking, animals at London Zoo got an early taste of Christmas on Thursday.

Keepers served the sprouts, a popular side dish on festive tables in Britain, to the zoo’s western lowland gorillas.

Bactrian camels Genghis and Noemi got their breakfast of hay in a large red stocking while Asiatic lionesses Indi, Heidi and Rubi woke up to their own version of a Christmas pudding - a cinnamon and nutmeg-scented ball.

“Big cats ... have got a great sense of smell...and here we use some nice festive spices ... to encourage that kind of ability for them to forage around and use that scent and follow some scent trails around in their paddocks,” Daniel Simmonds, head of primates at London Zoo, said.

“We’re only five days away from Christmas and it wouldn’t be right to not celebrate ...with the animals.”

Reporting By Ella Wilks-Harper; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; editing by John Stonestreet