Atascadero’s Charles Paddock Zoo has snack attack

With tiny hands or big paws, animals at Atascadero’s Charles Paddock Zoo scooped tasty treats from carved-out pumpkins Wednesday during a Halloween event.

Hogs, porcupines, spider monkeys, lemurs, meerkats, a tiger and a fossa — an animal similar to a mongoose — poked through jack-o’-lanterns in each exhibit.

When it came to the feisty meerkats, all three dove into the carved mouth of a ghoulishly grinning pumpkin — leaving three tiny tails sticking out.

“That pumpkin ate the meerkats,” Zoo Director Alan Baker said with a chuckle.

The event was designed as a preview for the zoo’s second annual Zoo Boo event. Food from each animal’s diet was placed into pumpkins for photo ops. The treats ranged from leafy greens to fruits or crickets, depending on the animal.

Zoo Boo will take place from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and will feature games, a haunted house and a trick-or-treat bag for ticket holders. The public is also invited to bring a decorated and carved vegetable for contest prizes. Zoo Boo tickets are $7 for zoo society members, $8 for the public and free for children age 2 and younger. The zoo is in Atascadero Lake Park at 9100 Morro Road. For questions, call 461-5080.

— Tonya Strickland