Have you ever tried growing your vegetables in a mixture of hippo manure? How about treating your roses to a compost made with zebra and elephant droppings?
Tonnes of exotic animal faeces are disposed of by New Zealand's zoos every year, begging the question – where does it all go?
Wellington Zoo spokeswoman Ash Howell said of the 80 tonnes of organic waste produced at the zoo each year, about 5-10 per cent of that is animal faeces.
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Some of that manure could be fueling the growth of your neighbour's vege garden, with some of the herbivore waste getting shipped off to be made into compost.
"Wellington Zoo has a long-standing partnership with ZooDoo who support the Zoo's sustainability work, and we have been working with them since 1989," Howell said.
"We provide ZooDoo with mainly herbivore faeces from animals such as the giraffes, to contribute to their composting programme."
ZooDoo founder Peter Jan said the registered charity has been running for 29 years, with 100 per cent of its profits going to help people affected by suicide.
"Twenty-nine years ago all the waste used to just get sent to the tip, so it used to be taken to the landfill and a big hole was dug and they just covered it," he said.
"I just approached the zoos and said we'll recycle it and turn it into compost."
Jan said the charity receives "tonnes" of waste from zoos around the country every year.
They only use herbivore faeces, as waste from lions, tigers, and other meat-eating animals was "too like human faeces", meaning it was smellier and carried different pathogens and disease risks.
Wellington Zoo alone feeds its animals more than 18,000kg of fruit and vegetables each year – about 350kg per week – while its carnivores consume about 250kg of meat each week.
"Our Chimpanzee community eat a lot in a day and will be fed around 24kg of fresh fruit, vegetables, specialised primate pellets and additional meat, treats and seeds," Howell said.
"However, in terms of per animal, Bashii our male Sumatran Tiger can eat between 6-8kg of meat in a day."
The red pandas have the lightest diet, eating about 220g of food per day, excluding bamboo. But it's the adult female Chilean rose tarantulas that take the title for the least food eaten, as they feed only monthly.
"We generate approximately 80 tonnes of organic waste per year, of which a high proportion is hay and straw used for animal feed and bedding. Of all the organic waste produced in the zoo, around 5-10 per cent in weight would be due to animal faeces."
The biggest eaters – the chimpanzees – are also the biggest waste producers.
While giraffes generate plenty of eaten hay and lucerne from their habitat, they create "surprisingly small amounts of faeces for such a large animal".
"Giraffes are a desert-dwelling animal that are remarkably well adapted to living in dry, arid environments. They have evolved to utilise all of the moisture and nutrition in their food to fuel all of their biological processes – so much so that very little comes out the other end.
"If you break open a giraffe poo you'll find that it consists of just dry fibrous material that the giraffe's gut hasn't broken down. Everything else in the original food has been used by the giraffe's wonderfully efficient digestive system."
Once a week Zoo Doo collects roughly 1.2 cubic meters of material containing both faeces and bedding from Wellington Zoo.
The rest of the zoo's organic waste goes to Capital Compost. Any waste that may contain heritable material, such as invertebrate eggs, is first frozen for a minimum of seven days at -18C and then sent to Capital Compost.
Wellington Zoo by the numbers
• The biggest sleepers are lions and tigers, sleeping up to 20 hours per day, even in the wild.
• Millipedes have the most babies, having 500 at a time
• There are roughly 600 animals at the zoo
• Bashii the male Sumatran Tiger eats the most out of any animal at the zoo – about 6-8kg of meat each day
• The animals consume 250kg of meat and 350kg of fruit and vegetables each week