Keeping their Cool
One of the most common questions the Zoo receives every year is “How do the animals cool off when it’s too hot outside?”. To answer that question, the animals have climate-controlled areas within their exhibits in which they can go when the temperature is too hot or even too cold. Instead of trekking indoors, some of the animals also choose another method of cooling off…with Pool Pawties!
While you won’t see a Red panda or cheetah go for a dip, several of the animals at the Zoo can be found swimming or lounging in water on the hottest summer days. In the World of Reptiles, you can find anything from the Jamaican boas to Dart frogs lounging in their water bowls. When snakes shed their skin, they often soak in their water bowls to help keep hydrated. Frogs and other amphibians absorb water through their skin rather than drinking it with their mouths, which is why they often spend some time going for a dip in the water.
While the Kunekune pigs in the ZooFarm don’t necessarily go for a swim in a pool of water, they do enjoy the occasional mud bath. They love to dive in the mud and cover themselves to protect from bugs, as well as to cool off from the sun’s hot rays. Bison are also big fans of mud baths, and the Southern White rhinos at the Zoo are almost always spotted going for a dip in their mud wallows.
Some animals don’t have access to pools, so Keepers will literally shower them in cool H2O. The emu in the Australia Walkabout, as well as Elgie the Southern Cassowary, all love running through the sprinklers when they need to cool off.
You can occasionally see the Moon bears diving in their pool. The bear brothers enjoy searching in the water for an old tire that sinks to the bottom of their pool. Once they find it, they bring it to the surface and often float with it until the tire sinks to the bottom again.
Malayan tigers Stubbley and Osceola can be seen going for a dip quite frequently, especially when temperatures reach triple digits. Swimming in their pool is not only a treat for the tiger teens, but guests get plenty of joy from watching the pair splash and play. While the tigers are a real joy to watch, there’s another pair that is notorious for their pool pawties.
Merrill and Sawyer the Asian Small-clawed otters take first place for their swimming skills. When the pair isn’t sun-bathing, they keep their cool by submerging in the water. These two cuties start by running to the waterfall that flows in their exhibit. Once they reach the water, they ride the current downstream until they reach the pool. The pair will swim around for a few minutes, diving and twisting through the water, before emerging from the pool to run back to the waterfall and do it all again. Their synchronized swimming routine is what makes their pool pawties the best technique to cooling off during a warm day at the Zoo.