Thanksgiving 2014: Illinois Zoo treats ring-tailed lemurs to early holiday dinner

Video: It's not just humans who get to enjoy America's biggest holiday

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The Independent US

It's not just American citizens who are tucking into their respective turkeys this Thanksgiving Thursday: a bunch of ring-tailed lemurs in Illinois were also treated to a bite of festive bird.

Well, not exactly. The "imitation" turkey offered to the lemurs by staff of Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, was no bird at all - it was made from biscuits, sweet potato pie, and green beans.

Not that the lemurs minded. They can be seen happily tucking into their feast, with one creature even showing impeccable table manners, sitting at the table and politely taking a few handfuls of food at a time.

Eventually however, the five lemurs just pile onto the table and finish off the menu, something that will no doubt be done by many a ravenous family today.

According to Brookfield Zoo, ring-tailed lemurs eat fruit, leaves, flowers, herbs, small animals and insects when in the wild, while at the zoo they are fed "nutritionally complete primate biscuits" along with sweet potato, carrots and fruit mix.

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November and can be traced back to the pilgrims arriving in America during the 17th century. Families and friends come together for a special meal featuring turkey, roast potatoes, vegetables and pumpkin pie.

Most government offices, businesses, schools and other organisations are closed and many employees enjoy a long, four-day weekend.