HEAT WAVE 2012: Zoo animals beat the heat at Irvine Park in Chippewa Falls

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wisc. (WEAU) - With temperatures reaching 90 degrees this week, humans aren't the only ones needing to stay cool; animals at the Irvine Park Zoo got extra attention to avoid overheating.

Zookeeper Jennifer London said she pays extra close attention to the tigers, bears and porcupines.

"The cats and bears are the bigger animals, so they're going to be the warmer ones," London said. "With the tigers, we'll give them ice cubes, we'll freeze buckets of ice, and throw that in the pool, and ... we'll give them frozen meat treats."

"The porcupines don't perspire very well, so we give them a little tub to go in," she said.

Although hot days mean less foot traffic from zoo goers, it's losing animals that London is concerned about.

"Rabbits need water bottles that we freeze that they lay next to," she said. "Rabbits can die very easily (without keeping cool).

She said many animals choose to stay in the shade, or in the water and that warm climate animals adapt better to the heat.

"We just have to stock up and be thinking ahead, and at the end of the day, be thinking behind about what you've done and what you've possibly forgot ... everyday you have to plan ahead. I watch the weather everyday, and you have to just plan by the weather."

London said lemurs love the heat, but the ideal temperature for most animals is around 70 degrees.

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