News Release

Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,

June 11, 2020


Cicadas—a Tasty Treat for Animals at Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield, Ill. — Over the past several weeks, those living in the Chicago area have probably seen their share of the somewhat intimidating red-beady eyed cicadas, or at least have heard their deafening mating calls. The early emergence by four years of the Brood XIII periodical cicadas to the area, has prompted animal care staff at Brookfield Zoo to take advantage of these high-in-protein and low-in-fat arthropods and offer them as tasty nutritious treats to several of the animals.

Those who received the cicadas included the zoo’s white-throated monitor lizards; meerkats; golden-lion tamarins; Beaker, a tawny frogmouth; and Kartik and Hani, the zoo’s sloth bears, who received their share frozen in ice.

The animals displayed different ways of approaching the cicadas, ranging from shy and hesitant behavior to boldness. Some ate the cicadas instantly upon their arrival, while others watched them for a while before consuming them.

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About the Chicago Zoological Society

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. The zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, and CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit

Photo Captions—credit Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society

7421 and 7268: A white-throated monitor lizard at Brookfield Zoo received a few cicadas for a tasty treat.

7279: Beaker, a tawny frogmouth at Brookfield Zoo, looks curiously at cicadas that animal care staff gave him as a treat.

7299: Beaker, a tawny frogmouth at Brookfield Zoo, seemed to enjoy the tasty treat—cicada—that animal care staff gave to him.

7490 and 7498: Kartik, one of Brookfield Zoo’s sloth bears, investigates his frozen treat of cicadas.

7624 and 7671: Animal care staff gave the meerkets at Brookfield a nutritious treat of cicadas for enrichment.

8009: A golden lion tamarin at Brookfield Zoo seems to curiously look at a cicada before eating it. Several of the animals received the red-eyed arthropods for enrichment.


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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