Excited chimps get matzah for Passover

Apes, elephants at Ramat Gan Safari thrilled to receive rare treat of matzah for Passover instead of bread.

Gary Willig,

chimp chowing down on matzah
chimp chowing down on matzah
Gideon Markovich

Spring is in the air, and that means Passover cannot be far away. Across the country and the world, Jews are busy cleaning their houses of all chametz, or leavened products, and buying matzot, or unleavened bread, for the holiday.

But humans are not the only creatures that enjoy the change in menu over Passover. Several animal species of animals at the Ramat Gan Safari love to chow down on matzah as well.

The Ramat Gan Safari begins preparations for Passover just like any Jewish family. Just as Jewish families meticulously remove all traces of chametz from their homes, the safari goes over every pedestrian path and animal enclosure in the 250-acre zoo to ensure they are as clean as humanly possible - as well as clean of chametz.

Two weeks before the holiday, animals that would normally receive bread with their meals are switched to a diet that is kosher for Passover. The safari ordered 11 pounds of matzah for Passover.

The animals which receive matzah over Passover include apes, elephants, and other animals in the free-range part of the zoo.

The bread that is left in the safari before the holiday is usually given to Yossi the Elephant, the largest elephant in captivity in any zoo in the world. Yossi can eat eight loaves of bread a day.

The matzah and the bread are not the main dish for the animals, but merely supplement the fruits and vegetables they receive. Still, the chimpanzees at the zoo are very excited when they receive matzah, and videos taken at the safari show them eagerly chowing down on the rare treat.

In addition, the safari ordered thirteen tons of kosher for Passover animal food for the holiday.








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