Tuesday, 23 July 2013
One of the most common things I have been asked recently is "How do the animals cope this hot weather?"
We have had some extremely warm days over the past couple of weeks, and yes I think it does get to the animals a bit... they tend to shy away in to the shade to stay cool or stay undergroung. They usually all come out if we call them for a visiting school group, but as soon as we move on we let them go back to keeping cool for the rest of the day.
We can help of course though, and you find many of our animals enjoy our efforts in cooling them off.
Many animals enjoy having a bath to keep their temperature down, this may be a simple task like placing larger water bowls in to enclosures such as our hedgehogs to really allow themselves to have a good soak... Our badgers in particular seem to enjoy a daily bath in their large outdoor pool.
Some of our animals, such as our foxes, enjoy a little spray with the hose to help with the temperatures... even surprisingly our owl, Florence. Usually owls keep away from the water and it is quite rare for one to take a bath, like a bird would for example. But Florence seems to enjoy a daily bath after her flying session, jumping in to her water bowl to have a soak, and even flying under the hose if we have it going nearby.
Some animals may just lay flat out in the shade to cool off, even our snakes who are finding this weather a bit too hot for them... but with others we can offer alternative enrichment to help keep them cool.
The foxes and otters in particular seem to enjoy "iced" food... this may be something as simple as a little frozen blood, or something a bit more like fish frozen in ice blocks for the otters to try and eat.
It usually takes them a while to get used it, but they soon work out that by taking it in to the water it helps to melt the ice, before taking it back to the back to eat.
It looks like the temperatures are easing off a bit now, so we should be all set for the summer opening. I'll remind you of our openings later in the week, with news of a new "unusual" arrival who has already become a bit of a star with visitors!