TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Cold weather can be dangerous for animals at the zoo that are native to warmer climates. The staff at the Topeka Zoo bring some of their warm weather animals inside during the colder months.
Shanna Simpson, the animal care supervisor, said ice can be especially dangerous for hoofed animals like giraffes. Zoo workers bring giraffes inside when the temperature drops below 40 degrees.
“You don’t want a giraffe to slip and fall,” Simpson said. “Ice is a big concern for them.”
The zoo staff brings other animals like hippos and elephants in as well when it’s cold out. They even have special toys and puzzles for the animals to keep them occupied inside. Animals that stay outside are given warm bedding to sleep in.
“We make sure that every single animal has what it needs to be OK in the cold, or we move them inside and give them what they need inside,” Simpson said.
The zoo workers change the diets of the North American animals leading up to winter. The change in diet allows the animals to add some extra fat to help them keep warm. Animals like bears, mountain lions and otters are well suited for the cold weather.