A smelly box of mealworms and ants isn't a present most would want to unwrap, but this is the perfect first Christmas present for Rica, the baby three-banded armadillo at Edinburgh Zoo.
Born in August earlier this year to mum Rio and dad Rodar, Rica will soon be nose-deep in the wriggling box. Playing Santa for the young armadillo, Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People's Postcode Lottery, delivered Rica her present on Monday 1st December.
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), who own and manage Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park, received a fantastic award from players of People's Postcode Lottery earlier this year. They were announced as a supported charity, receiving the amazing sum of £150,000 over the year.
Gareth Bennett, Senior Presentations Keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said, "The festive season is a great opportunity for keepers to get creative with animal enrichment. The enrichment we regularly give to our animals helps recreate behaviours in the wild, and in this case, Rica will be able to use her huge, sharp claws to tear into her present and use her long tongue to catch the wriggling mealworms and ants. Mealworms are one of the favourite foods of three-banded armadillos, so Christmas has literally come early for Rica as she's being delivered a whole box of them!
"Rica was the first birth of any armadillo species at Edinburgh Zoo, and at only three months old, she will soon become a little ambassador for a giant cause. She will join the rest of the family and take part in Edinburgh Zoo's educational shows, where they are used to help raise awareness of the vital conservation work for the giant armadillo which the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland undertakes in the Brazilian Pantanal."
Clara Govier said, "Everyone was so excited when People's Postcode Lottery was asked to give Rica the baby three-banded armadillo her first ever Christmas present! It's definitely a unique way to celebrate the support from players to RZSS throughout the year.
"We were especially honoured to meet little Rica, as the funding from players of People's Postcode Lottery has helped to support the conservation and research work of RZSS, which extends to her giant cousin in Brazil."