Keeping Animals Cool in the Heat

Lehigh Valley Zoo – Many of the animals that call the Lehigh Valley Zoo home are built perfectly for our Pennsylvania climate, but there are still days that the heat can be a bit of a burden. For humans like us, we can either wear light clothing, carry around a little personal fan, or cool off with some ice cream as we enjoy the day, but some animals may not have the fashion sense or the thumbs needed to do those things. Luckily, our keepers know the perfect ways to help our animals beat the heat.

Ice Blocks
Ice blocks are one of the best ways to keep some animals cool. Animals like our porcupines, raccoons, otters, fox, and cats love to have ice blocks. Ice blocks are also a great form of enrichment when combined with other things. Some animals, like our porcupine, Amber, simply love to lay on the ice blocks to lower their body temperature, but many animals like to enjoy them as treats if other diet items are frozen within. Our otters enjoy fish frozen into their ice that they need to work out, and our fox enjoys ice that has a little bit of flavor that we add in the form of sugar-free juices, kind of like a super healthy popsicle.

A Nice Mist
Some animals do not enjoy ice blocks, so we provide them with misters. Animals like our ravens, or our aoudad, or the lorikeets, really enjoy sitting beneath misters to keep cool, and may even use it as the perfect time for a shower. Our lorikeets like to use this misting time for a quick bird bath.

Pool Time
If anyone doesn’t enjoy mist, we provide pools. These pools full of nice cold water are the perfect for our animals who love to swim and splash. On any warm day you may catch our fisher, raccoon, or snowy owl enjoying their pools, sometimes with other enjoyable enrichment as well.

All animals receive some form of shade, which is necessary for proper welfare, whether it is in the form of trees, standing shelters, nest boxes, or even simply being given access to a cooler indoor area.

Written by Caitlin Keim
Zookeeper & Enrichment Coordinator
Lehigh Valley Zoo | Schnecksville, PA

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