Summer heat is here, and zoos are working to not only keep visitors cool but also animals safe during the hot weather.
July is usually the warmest month of the year for many spots across the U.S., and during the peak of summer, it is common to be under a heat wave.
Experts say depending on the species, extreme heat can cause significant stress on the animals.
Zoos across the country have a variety of responses they use to keep the animals cool during the hot months.
Besides air conditioning, zookeepers turn to water, ice and other cool treats to help lower body temperatures and make the efforts a fun enrichment game for all to enjoy.
Here’s how a few zoos deal with the hot weather.
Zookeepers in Houston say they are paying close attention to their outdoor animals.
The Houston Zoo says many have indoor rooms where they can beat the heat in air conditioning, if it gets too hot outside.
For some animals, it can be a joy and a treat to get some extra attention.
Team members recently opened an extra splash zone for their sea lions and provided some cool icy treats.
Triple-digit heat in the Lone State will force the San Antonio Zoo to close early from July 18 through July 22.
And while shutting down operations ahead of normal closing times might help spectators, actions are also happening behind the scenes to keep the animals cool.
A popular frozen treat has been popsicles for many of the animals.
The Phoenix Zoo says it takes heat seriously, but many of its animals come from environments that experience similar heat to what Arizona sees during many months of the year.
Asides from shady areas, all habitats for large animals have pools, and like many other zoos, they provide frozen treats that can be made of blood or even fish, if the animal desires.
Some animals prefer just a regular hose with water, and the zoo says its tortoises and pigs even like a good layer of mud.
The mud is said to assist the species regulate body temperatures, helping them feel cooler during those warm days.
Animals across parts of Europe are also dealing with extreme heat.
Spain, Portugal, France the United Kingdom are experiencing a heat wave, sending temperatures above 100 degrees.
Because of the weather, zookeepers are working to keep animals happy by using some frozen treats.
The zoo in Madrid recently handed out homemade popsicles filled with treats to a variety of animals, including Bing Xing, their famed giant panda.
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