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National Animal Crackers Day: Animal-shaped treats Americans love to eat

National Animal Crackers Day:  Lions, Tigers and Bear-shaped treats we love to eat
National Animal Crackers Day: Lions, Tigers and Bear-shaped treats we love to eat Photo by Donald Bowers

When it comes to "howlidays", April 18 has gone to the dogs, cats, tigers, lions and bears - oh my! If you're in the mood for a sweet treat to eat, you're in luck. But just don't bite my head off! Not only is it Pet Owner's Independence Day, April 18 is also National Animal Crackers Day, an annual food holiday dedicated to those crunchy animal-shaped crackers/cookies we love to eat.

Animal Crackers

"Animals" were popular snacks in England back in the 1800s. While American bakers soon followed suit, it wasn't until the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) renamed their product after a famous circus owner when they really took off. In 1902, when the newly named "Barnum's Animals" and the colorful re-designed box that looked like a circus wagon filled with animals hit the shelves, it became a great big hit. And at just five cents a pop, the box even came with its own string - so children could easily carry the box and/or hang it from the Christmas tree during the holidays.

While a wide variety of animals have been devoured by hungry children over the years, about 20 animal shapes remain today. From camels, cougars, elephants and giraffes to sheep, tigers, lions and bears, Barnum's Animals crackers are about as iconic as it gets.