Here at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, our animals celebrate the holidays just like us! It might just look a little different. Christmas time is typically the season of giving, and that tradition continues here at TCWR. Our animals get a variety of enrichment activities and gifts around the holidays that are specific to this time of year. Enrichment is crucial for these animals as it emulates natural behaviors they would get out in the wild, and it gives the animals something to do here in captivity. Providing a variety of this enrichment will keep the cats engaged, curious, content, and active.
Many of our forms of enrichment include organic aspects like trees, leaves, or snow. While Christmas does not necessarily indicate snow, there’s always the chance we could get a white Christmas! Our animals here tend to have a fun time playing in the snow, as its a different type of seasonal enrichment for them to experience.
Continuing the theme of using natural elements to enrich our animals, Christmas trees start coming out around the holidays. As people donate them, we begin putting them in the animal’s habitats. This is something new and exciting for the animals to experience, as they only show up in the enclosures once a year. The trees’ piney smell is interesting, and the texture of the trees is unique, providing a great new scratching item! It’s also an object for the cats to hide behind, giving them a different stalking spot. They like to stalk others around them (whether this be the humans behind the fences or their animal peers) because this is an instinctual behavior they’d be doing out in the wild.
Its not Santa who provides toys for the animals, but our wonderful supporters and donors. With it being the giving season, more donations of toys arrive. If you’re interested in supporting our animals, you can always follow this link to find out more information!
There is a section on our website where you can specifically donate toys to the animals. Around Christmas time, we’ll even sometimes wrap them for the animals!
Its not only the animals’ toys that get wrapped around this time of year, but also just plain old empty boxes. Us humans would probably be disappointed by an empty, wrapped gift, but the cats are ecstatic! They already love cardboard boxes, and then they get wrapped with crinkly paper, providing another layer of intrigue. The cats have a great time ripping up, playing, and attacking the paper and boxes.
If you’d like to see some of our animals experience the joys of Christmas time, you can watch one of our Youtube videos I’ve attached.
Please keep Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in mind when it comes to this special time of year. We appreciate all the support and love, and we know the animals do as well!