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"Furniture" in Zoo Enclosures

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I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. During our filming with horticulturist Melody Scott Leach at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, we learned about what animal exhibit specialists call furniture. This means plants or other items placed inside the animal enclosure.  For example, the rhinoceroses need shade but these massive animals could easily destroy trees by rubbing against them. Scott-Leach has planted trees but placed large boulders around them to keep these animals from scratching their backs on the tree trunks. But don’t think that they have to suffer an itching spot –there is a suspended brush that automatically comes on and spins its bristles against their tough hide. We watched a very content animal enjoy this feature during our filming. At the walk-through kangaroo exhibit, strategically placed fans cooled these animals on a hot September day, the exhibit keepers and the MIG team enjoyed them, too.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.