The Most Expensive Animal at the Zoo - FOX 42: Omaha News, Sports and Weather; kptm.com |

The Most Expensive Animal at the Zoo

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 Maureen Wurtz

OMAHA (KPTM)-  The Henry Doorly Zoo has had more than one-million visitors since its opening in 1894. 

Memories made there are priceless, but feeding some of the animals is pricey.

Hundreds of animals call the zoo home, but one of them has the priciest meal ticket.

"Tigers are the third largest carnivore on the planet, behind polar bears and brown bears," said Dan Houser, the curator of large animals at Henry Doorly.

Tigers may be the third biggest meat eater, but they are the most expensive animal to feed. "We bring in enormous amounts of meat that's entirely prepare just for these tigers," said Houser.

 16-year-old Nadia is an Amur Tiger. "She's older, but she's in really great condition," said Cheryl Morris. Morris is the director of nutrition at the zoo.

 Amur Tigers are typically from Siberia, but Nadia is corn-fed, because she eats approximately $19 worth of Nebraska beef a day.

"Tigers consume around 12 pounds of meat per day," said Morris. "That's equivalent to about 12 pounds of hamburger meat that you would go and buy at the grocery store."

 On average, female Amur tigers weigh 350 pounds. Morris said, if you're looking at how much an animal weighs compared to how much it costs to feed them, there's another animal at the zoo that's swimming into the spotlight.

"In reality, they're actually more expensive to feed than on of our rhinos or even our big cats," said Morris.

Morris is talking about ‘Cuttlefish.'

"They can be extremely expensive to feed," said Morris. "If we look at the per size basis, they actually are the most expensive animal at the zoo."

 Cuttlefish's diet starts with live shrimp from the Gulf Coast. "That costs about 10 to 12 dollars per day to feed each cuttlefish," said Morris.

 Cuttlefish are related to a squid or an octopus, and from birth to death, only clock in about a year.

 Whether it's 350 pounds or a couple of ounces, both animals are racking up a pricey meal ticket, but still get four stars.

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