A Birthday Gift to Chomp On

Chompers is one of the Virginia Zoo’s newest animal ambassadors, and the only Cape porcupine in the program. Believe it or not, this little spiky guy turned one on Wednesday, April 11!

Chompers got his name from what he does best: chomping down on anything he can find. He eats 157 grams of rodent biscuit, 68 grams of greens, 202 grams of mixed root vegetables and 91 grams of fruit for a total of 1.14 pounds of food a day.

When creating recipes, it is often easier to use weight measurements instead of the typical cup and teaspoon-type measurements, especially when creating specially-formulated diets for animals. The best way to be as accurate as you can when preparing diets is to have a kitchen scale – in fact, Chef Yohn has three!

In honor of Chompers’ first birthday, Chef Yohn was quilled to toss together a birthday pizza, complete with tomato “sauce”, healthy cauliflower “crust” and plenty of yummy veggie and fruit toppings, including green lettuce “cheese”.

chomp and circumstance pizza


• cauliflower

• tomato

• lettuce

• apple wedges

• sweet potato

• carrot

• one grape


Step one: Measure and weigh all ingredients to ensure a proper diet size.

Step two: Finely chop up the cauliflower and put into a dish. This is the pizza’s “crust”!

Step three: Puree in a blender or finely chop up the tomato and place on top of cauliflower. This is the “sauce”!

Step four: Chop and thinly shred the lettuce and place on top of the pizza. This is the “cheese”!

Step five: Dice the sweet potato and apple and place on top of the pizza. These are the chef’s choice pizza toppings!

Step six: Make a short carrot “candle” and top with the grape. Place in the middle of the pizza.

Step seven: Serve to Chompers the porcupine for his first birthday!

Chompers literally blew out his candle to start chomping on his pizza!

He also manages to sneak in some rubs from his Keepers, Stephanie and Tara, in between pizza bites.

Check back in May for another Animeals recipe!