Wake up with a Smile

Join our newsletter

Pig-casso And Friends: You’ll Never Guess How Well These Animals Can Paint!

painting animals

When you think of an animal painting, you probably picture a painting of an animal, but did you know zoos work with an immense variety of species and teach them how to paint and create their own masterpieces? 

By providing animals with the opportunity to explore and interact with paint, zoos allow the animals to tap into their innate curiosity and creativity. Activities and objects that enhance an animal’s life or environment are called “enrichment.” 

You can see just how much fun they’re having:

Why exactly does painting improve an animal’s mental health and welfare?

Whether you’re looking at a chimpanzee, elephant, bird, or dog, all animals possess an inherent desire to explore and interact with their environment. Through painting, they can channel their curiosity and creativity into creating something new. This form of enrichment allows animals to express their individuality and provides them with a means of interaction that goes beyond their typical behaviors.

Engaging in painting activities also provides animals with physical exercise and helps improve their coordination. Painting requires animals to use their limbs and manipulate brushes or other tools. For example, elephants can use their trunks to hold brushes and make deliberate strokes on canvas, which not only provides them with exercise but also stimulates their trunk muscles and enhances their dexterity.

So, what exactly is enrichment?

Enrichment is an essential component of animal care that aims to enhance the quality of life for animals in captivity. It involves providing animals with stimulating environments, activities, and experiences that mimic their natural interactions and behaviors. 

Some other types of enrichment include:

  • Food-based enrichment: Providing animals with puzzles, toys, or devices that encourage them to forage for their food, mimicking their natural hunting or foraging behaviors.
  • Sensory enrichment: Exposing animals to different sights, sounds, textures, and smells to stimulate their senses and provide a more diverse and interesting environment.
  • Environmental enrichment: Creating a dynamic and engaging habitat for animals by incorporating natural elements, such as trees, rocks, and water features, as well as providing opportunities for exploration and play.
  • Social enrichment: Facilitating social interactions between animals of the same species or compatible individuals to promote social bonds, communication, and natural behaviors.
penguin painting

Enrichment encourages animals to engage in different types of behaviors, promotes physical and mental exercise, and reduces boredom and stress. Painting is just one of the many types of enrichment that can be implemented to improve the well-being of animals.

Zoo Atlanta provides a great explanation of all of the mental stimulation involved in the training and execution of creating a painting with their ground hornbills, Zazu and Gumby: 


Are Zazu and Gumby the very best and most talented birds in the world? No way to be sure we guess but seems like a strong possibility! #bird #birdsoftiktok #training #hornbill #animals #cuteanimals

♬ original sound – Zoo Atlanta

Animal painting as enrichment is a wonderful way to tap into the creative potential of animals and provide them with a stimulating and enriching experience. By engaging in painting activities, animals can express themselves, engage in physical exercise, and improve their overall well-being. 

You might even teach your pets to paint using water-based child paints… but it might be a good idea to try that outside if you value your carpets! 

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here and here.

Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.