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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007, 16:39 GMT
Huge pumpkin is elephantine treat
Duchess and Gay with giant pumpkin
The pumpkin is used as feed and environmental enrichment
Two elephants at a Devon zoo have been given a heavy meal with a difference - a pumpkin the weight of two gorillas.

Duchess and Gay at Paignton Zoo have been presented with the 66 stone (424kg) pumpkin - which it took four people to lift.

"At 66 stone it's about the size of two adult male gorillas," said zoo spokesman Phil Knowling.

It was given to the elephants by farmer Mark Raymont who grew it at his farm at near Padstow in Cornwall.

Zoo staff came across Mr Raymont and his pumpkin when he was exhibiting produce in London.

Duchess and Gay with giant pumpkin
It is the biggest pumpkin farmer Mark Raymont has ever grown

Senior head keeper of mammals Julian Chapman said: "We use pumpkins of all shapes and sizes as feed and as environmental enrichment.

"We give them to all sorts of animals at this time of year, but they are not usually quite this big."

Mr Raymont, a beef farmer, has been growing pumpkins as a hobby for six years and this is the biggest pumpkin he has ever grown.

He was invited to exhibit it in London by Covent Garden Market, where staff from Paignton Zoo came across him.



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