10 Things You Didn’t Know About Animal Crackers

These little cookies are a childhood favorite

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Animal Crackers

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Animal Crackers
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Who doesn’t love animal crackers? Those little red boxes full of animal-shaped cookies have been an essential part of childhood for generations, but did you ever really stop to think about them?

They’re A Cookie-Cracker Hybrid

They’re A Cookie-Cracker Hybrid
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Like graham crackers, animal crackers are made with a cracker-style layered and docked dough, but they’re sweet like cookies.

They’ve Been Called ‘Barnum’s Animals’ Since 1902

They’ve Been Called ‘Barnum’s Animals’ Since 1902
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They were, of course, named after the famed circus showman P.T. Barnum.

The String Was Originally for ‘Ornamental’ Use

The String Was Originally for ‘Ornamental’ Use

Photo Snack Modified: Flickr/ Bradley Stemke/ CC4.0

Ever wonder why there’s a little string on the top of each box? It was designed for the Christmas season, as the box was originally meant to be a Christmas tree ornament! The string was there to help the box hang from the tree, and it’s still around today.

The Small Cartons Were Revolutionary

Until Barnum’s Animals came around, crackers were sold in cracker barrels or big tins. The single-serve box, which sold for five cents, was revolutionary at the time, and was such a success than many other brands followed suit.

37 Different Animals Have Been Represented Over the Years

37 Different Animals Have Been Represented Over the Years
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The field has narrowed somewhat; today you might find a bear, bison, camel, cougar, elephant, giraffe, gorilla, hippo, hyena, kangaroo, lion, monkey, rhino, seal, sheep, tiger, or zebra in your Barnum’s box.

The Most Recent Addition Is the Koala

The Most Recent Addition Is the Koala

Photo Modified: Flickr/ Chris Ptacek/ CC4.0

The koala was briefly added into the mix in 2002, to celebrate the snack’s 100-year anniversary. It beat out a penguin, walrus, and cobra in a vote.

There Are More Animal Crackers Out There Than You Might Realize

There Are More Animal Crackers Out There Than You Might Realize
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If you define an “animal cracker” as any cookie or cracker that’s shaped like a cracker, then you can also loop Goldfish and Teddy Grahams into the category.

They Got a New Look in 1958

They Got a New Look in 1958
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Before 1958, all animal crackers were stamped with a simple cookie cutter and didn’t have any other details. Today, details including arms, legs, and facial features can be engraved onto each cookie thanks to rotary dies.

Nabisco Doesn’t Have to Pay to Use the Barnum’s Name

Nabisco Doesn’t Have to Pay to Use the Barnum’s Name

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Because the usage dates back so far, and technically only refers to the showman P.T. Barnum, Nabisco isn’t required to pay any licensing fees to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus (although maybe they should be, as the circus is folding later this year).

Stauffer’s Animal Crackers Have a Unique Formula

Stauffer’s animal crackers, which first hit the market in 1871, can be found at a handful of discount retailers. Their formula calls for the addition of spices nutmeg and mace.