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Christmas Comes to the Gladys Porter Zoo

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BROWNSVILLE – Christmas comes to the animals at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville.

The animals don't understand the meaning of Christmas. They don't really know what gift wrap is for or why they're getting gifts on that particular day.

But they do act similar to people at the sight of getting new things. The band of chimps at the Gladys Porter Zoo get up off their backs and start playing around with the new gifts.

It helps that boxes contain fiber treats and that's hard for an ape to pass up. But even just cardboard and the wrapping paper is enough to wake the chimps up.

A zookeeper said a female chimp is building a nest out of her newfound wrapping paper. Some of the chimps get into the holiday spirit while others relax.

Right across the resaca, a 3-year-old white rhinoceros can't contain herself at the sight of the strange boxes in her yard. She bounced around excitedly and tore into the boxes with her horn.

A zookeeper said the 3-year-old sees the boxes as something to play with rather than a threat.

Christmas also comes for the fruit bats at the zoo's Australia exhibit. Bats are often misunderstood as 'blood-suckers,' but these bats are exclusive “fruitarians.” They received a nice fruit tray for the holidays.

And also receiving gifts are the colorful Australian cassowary. They have a beak the size of a fist and a helmet-like casque made out of the same material that makes up fingernails. It's one of the most dangerous animals at the zoo, but it isn't excluded from the festivities. The cassowary attempted to tear open the blue box.

It's a special day at the zoo for the animals as they tear open their gifts.

The Gladys Porter Zoo will be doing more Christmas gift-giving on Christmas Day. The zoo will be open for visitors to see for themselves.

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