Philly Zoo rats give lesson on recycling

John McDevitt
January 31, 2019 - 4:55 pm
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Have you ever been unsure which recycle receptacle to throw your trash into? The Philadelphia Zoo has some green rats that may be able to help you.

Every day at 11 a.m., Poppy and Gilly — domestic rats — demonstrate their skills to visitors at KidZooU, the children's zoo and education center.

Among other things, the girls have been trained to turn off lights and to recycle.

They can actually sort trash and put it into the recycling bin or the container for the landfill.

"They learned through repetition and reward - which is part of our behavior training program - which goes where, that a plastic bottle goes into recycling, and that's a message that we want our guests to know is important. It's important to protect the animals in the environment and so if rats can recycle, we can too," said Kristen Lewis-Waldron, the Philadelphia Zoo's director of strategic initiatives. 

The zoo engages visitors in various ways year-round on the importance of conservation and what we can do to help save the lives of threatened animals in the wild.