Keeping the Zoo Animals Warm

By: Erica Rakow Email
By: Erica Rakow Email

The Zoo World staff spent most of the afternoon Monday preparing all of their animals for the colder temperatures they'll have to endure this week.

Zoo World has hundreds of animals and you can't use just one method to keep all of them warm.

"We are very, very conscientious about making sure these animals are warm. Just like we want to go home and be warm, we want them to be warm,” said Assistant Director of the Zoo, Tom Walling.

Walling says he worries the most about the smaller primates, like the spider monkeys. Their body fat is very low and their metabolism very high. That's why they lure the little guys into heated buildings at night.

On the other side of the zoo, the barn animals don’t get heat lamps or blankets. They get extra bedding.

"So they can cuddle into the straw and they're not laying on the cold concrete. It's a lot of work. A lot of work," said Walling.

Despite the fact they're considered tropical birds, the zoo's 53 big parrots are pretty hearty when it comes to cold weather. All they need are some tarps to cuddle up behind.

"As long as they can settle down and cover their toes up and their feet with feathers, they can stay in actually below zero temperatures," said Walling.

And what about Sydney, the famous Panama City Beach giraffe? Is the staff worried about all that neck exposed to the chilly air?

"We don't worry a whole lot about the giraffe in this kind of weather. He's got a lot of fat tissue on him that he's supposed to have to keep him warm. But when it gets real cold, we actually have a big blast heater in the barn that warms him up. And he can go in there and get toasty," said Walling.

The bigger animals have heat lamps and blankets in their exhibits. By the way, if you have any unwanted blankets at home, feel free to donate them to the zoo.


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