Do Wild Animals Like Pesto?


Short answer
Despite all being herbivores, camels and rhinos turn their noses up at pesto, while giraffes love the stuff.

Long answer
According to a BBC investigation in November 2023, animal behaviour researchers at Australia's Werribee Open Range Zoo set out to find whether their herbivore residents liked the smell and taste of herbs.

The "enrichment program" began with the installation of a herb garden capable of growing up to 200 different herbs. Zookeepers then slowly introduced the zoo's camels, giraffes, rhinos, and wallabies to them in an attempt to find out which herbs were most enjoyed by which animals.

The giraffes and camels were the first to be introduced to a basil-rich mixture of herbs designed to mimic the smells and flavours of pesto. While the camels grunted and moodily shook their heads at the opportunity for a taste, the giraffes showed a keen willingness to try and before long were tucking into the herbs with gay abandon. Elsewhere in the zoo, wallabies were naturally drawn towards rosemary and mint, while the rhinos had absolutely no interest in any of the herbs.

When it comes to domestic animals, while dogs can eat basil, it is not recommended to feed them pesto. In small quantities, it won't do them huge amounts of harm, but in large quantities it can wreak havoc on their digestive system.