With the summer hotting up, keeping your zoo animals safe and cool has never been more important. Learn some of the best ways to do just that, keeping your animals happy, and your visitors entertained.
The UK’s summer has taken its sweet time to make an appearance, but there’s no denying that it’s heating up! Luckily for us, our human bodies are designed to regulate these soaring temperatures, even if our skin might outwardly complain.
That said, our resident zoo animals don’t all have the same evolutionary mechanisms to tackle such heat. Even our own house pets aren’t made to function in such weather, lacking the skin cooling systems we humans are lucky to possess.
We always hear the warnings to not leave your dog in your car, even for a short period. The same goes for our resident zoo animals, who all need some extra care and attention during this intense heat.
Multiple zoo attractions have already gotten creative with fun and exciting ways to help their animals keep their cool. Amuse your animals, and your visitors, with these top tips...
1. The Ultimate Hose-Down
Have you ever got the hose out for your beloved dog? Depending on the breed, they can go absolutely crazy for a sprinkling of water, and zoo creatures are no different.
Simply get the hose out and have some fun with your friendlier animals. For the more aggressive ones? Simply place a large pool of water in their pens, and watch them enjoy the pool party of the season!
With minimal encouragement, they’re sure to make use of their new water attractions. What’s more, this is guaranteed to create an amusing spectacle for your visiting onlookers, who can delight in seeing the animals enjoy themselves.
2. Mud Bath Madness
For those less active creatures, like the friendly old tortoise, enjoying a new water feature won’t cut it. Don’t worry, though, as zoo officials have ensured to cater for every one of their creatures, through providing enough mud to cover them up, protecting them from the heat.
Studies show that mud is more effective at combating higher temperatures than water. This is mainly due to its protective qualities, including UV protection! For animals, this could be a lifesaver.
3. Frosty Frozen Foods
What are your zoo animals’ favourite tasty treats? Watermelon? Fish? A juicy steak? Whatever their choice, making sure their food is cool and crisp before serving should help them tackle the heat.
It doesn’t have to be complex! The simple choices are often the most effective.
4. Blood Popsicles
In recent weeks, Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, amongst others, took extra precautions to keep their zoo animals comfortable. But they didn’t just stop at hosing them down, and provided them with tasty treats to enjoy throughout the day. But no, we don’t mean strawberry-flavoured popsicles - we’re talking frozen blood!
Furry friends, like bears, lions, and tigers, can all enjoy the fun and deliciousness of a large frozen block to lick until it’s gone. For your carnivores, a nice, juicy block of blood, and for the vegetarians out there, a block of ice, stuffed full with fruity treats, like berries and orange slices. The ingredient options are endless!
For those at Maryland Zoo, they didn’t just stop there. They ensured their frozen blocks were stuffed with powdered electrolytes, like those found in sports drinks, to maintain their animals’ vitals.
What makes this experience extra special is that it keeps the animals fixated for long periods of time in one spot. This allows visitors to get an up-close glimpse of the animals and their ice-lollies, providing fantastic interactive opportunities for all.
5. Keep Your Animals Indoors
For some zoo animals, namely horses, keeping them inside, and ensuring to keep them hydrated, is often the best port of call. With their tendencies to graze their way through the pastures, rain or shine, they’re likely to overheat, even from this minimal activity!
By keeping a roof over their heads, or even just providing an array of shady spots outside, they’ll remain healthy, and in good spirits.
Let’s Cool Off
As you can see, there’s no end to the ways you can keep your zoo animals safe and cool during our British heatwave. Zookeepers have really stepped it up this year, to not only ensure their animals’ welfare, but that their customers remain amused throughout their visit.
This heatwave, follow our top tips for keeping your zoo animals cool this summer. Otherwise, break the mould, get creative, and show us something we’ve not seen before! There’s no end to the fun you, your animals, and your visitors, can have.