Instead of hauling Christmas trees away for disposal, people can give them to the North Georgia Zoo.
The trees make great toys and treats for animals, said zoo owner Hope Bennett.
Monkeys become entranced with pulling at the bark. "They're fascinated by it," Bennett said. "They just think there is something underneath there so they'll sit there for hours and do that."
Farm animals will pull the needles off the trees and then chew at the branches, and pine trees are a natural dewormer for livestock and help keep them healthy, Bennett said.
The zoo's cougar will toss a tree around like a toy, and parrots will pick at chopped up pieces.
"It's an amazingly rewarding experience to watch them. When we put a tree in, they just go crazy," Bennett said. "All of the goats will run up and chew on it. The camels come up and push it around."
Bennett said the trees are thrown into the habitats whole, and at the end of the winter, zoo keepers pull out what's left.
In previous years, the zoo has picked up leftover trees that didn't sell at Christmas tree lots, but this year, the lots the zoo contacted sold out before the holiday, Bennett said.
Tree donations are being accepted at three locations: Ash Brothers Feed in Cleveland, Clarkesville Veterinary Clinic in Clarkesville and The Torch Worship Center in Demorest.
Trees can also be dropped off at the zoo in Cleveland, but the owners asked that individuals call before they bring their donation.