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Zoo wolverines treated to Ohio State pinata mascot

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Zoo wolverines treated to Ohio State pinata mascot

Post  mermaid on Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:32 am

Nov 24, 6:36 PM EST
Zoo wolverines treated to Ohio State pinata mascot

By MIKE HOUSEHOLDER
Associated Press

Raw Video: Wolverines Feast on Paper Buckeye
ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) -- The University of Michigan football team could only dream of faring as well against the Buckeyes as a pair of other wolverines did at the Detroit Zoo.

Luka and Jigi tore apart a pinata designed to resemble the Ohio State University's mascot on Wednesday, only three days before the annual college football rivalry is renewed in Columbus.

The male and female wolverines made quick work of the 4-foot-tall Brutus Buckeye replica, which had an Ohio "O" emblazoned on its chest and a head made to look like the nutlike seed from the buckeye tree.

It took them all of five minutes to topple Brutus and rip off his head. Later, they chewed their way inside his torso to find a prize of meat.

Zoo officials long have used pinatas and other objects to enrich environments and make them more engaging to the animals.

Last month, they put treat-filled pumpkins out and let the wolverines as well as vultures, bison and polar bears go to town.

Elizabeth Arbaugh, an animal welfare manager at the zoo, said introducing unpredictable elements such as pinatas, sounds, scents and other stimuli give the animals choice and control in their environment and encourage them to respond in species-typical ways.

"It's not something they get every day, so it's something novel," Arbaugh said as Luka and Gigi tore off chunks of Brutus. "That's one of the keys to enrichment is that we are constantly providing something different. ... They've been playing with this for 45 minutes. Most of our guests stopped watching, but these guys are still having a blast with it."

The OSU mascot likeness was made out of cardboard and held together by a water-and-four paste - no staples or tape - Arbaugh said, and non-toxic paint was used.

The real Brutus - and the real Buckeyes - are expected to have a better time of things Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

Ohio State has beaten Michigan six straight times - usually by lopsided margins.

The Buckeyes enter this year's contest - the 107th such meeting - ranked eighth in the nation and face a Michigan team that has a losing record in the Big Ten and a less-than-stellar defense.

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Re: wolverines, bet Smurfs taste better in a peanut butter sandwich & are easier to deal with. Go wolverines!! bounce
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