5 Things You Didn’t Know About Animal Crackers

Those little animal-shaped cookies have a long and interesting history

Photo Animal Crackers Modified: Flickr/ Jay MaloneCC4.0

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Animal Crackers

Photo Snack Modified: Flickr/ Bradley StemkeCC4.0

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

Photo Animal Crackers Modified: Flickr/ Steven DepoloCC4.0

They were, of course, named after the famed circus showman P.T. Barnum. 

The String Was Originally for ‘Ornamental’ Use

Photo Snack Modified: Flickr/ Bradley StemkeCC4.0

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

Photo Winter 2012 Modified: Flickr/ Mike MozartCC4.0

Until Barnum’s Animals came around, crackers were sold in 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

Photo Animal Crackers Modified: Flickr/ Jay MaloneCC4.0

The field has narrowed somewhat!

The Most Recent Addition Is the Koala

Photo Modified: Flickr/ Chris PtacekCC4.0

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.