Beating the heat with animal enrichment

We’ve already had many hot and humid days, and we’re only half-way through summer! Some of our animals deal better with the heat than others and may choose to stay in their inside habitat where it is cooler than outdoors, so if you don’t see someone in their exhibit this may be why. The zoo keepers always like to provide options and enrichment for our animals, and during the summer we provide many ways for them to beat the heat.

If you’re walking around the Zoo, you may notice sprinklers or misters set up in many of the exhibits. These help cool off areas in the exhibit and give the animals a choice to be in the water.

Another option many of our animals have is access to a pool or mud wallows. These are areas animals can not only get a drink from but submerge themselves if they choose. Our elephants especially love cooling off in the sprinklers and pool!

Some of our animals get ice blocks, often filled with treats! These not only cool the animal off, but are great enrichment and give our animals something to play with. They love getting anything from toys to food inside, We fill our ice blocks with different food items such as fish and fruits and veggies, and we even make some special “blood blocks” for our carnivores out of fish or meat blood.

Ice cube trays are perfect for making quick little snacks, and are easy to hide fruit in.

Our baboons enjoying some frozen mackerel, a perfect way to cool off.
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Frozen fish is a great snack. Salmon frozen in ice is our polar bear’s favorite.

8With so many ways to keep the animals cool, the summer months can be enjoyable for guests, staff, and animals alike!

–Randi Conway, Zoo Keeper