Custom-flavored popsicles help zoo animals beat the heat

Cool treats, misters help animals stay cool

Author: Jenna Hiller, Reporter,
Published On: Jun 25 2012 12:29:03 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 25 2012 01:45:41 PM CDT

The animals who live at the San Antonio Zoo feel the summer sun just like the people who visit them -- and they cool down in pretty much the same way, too.

With scorching temperatures expected this week, zoo officials are coming up with novel ways to help keep the animals cool.

The lemurs got a giant chunk of ice to take the edge off the heat.

"It's just like we like to have a popsicle or ice cream cone when it's cold out, we do the same thing for the animals," Melody Forshey, senior mammal keeper said.

The black mangabeys -- a breed of lemur -- got little cubes instead of a huge hunk of ice.

"We like to mix it up. It acts as a form of enrichment for them, so changes it up. Sometimes we give them large blocks of ice, other times little pieces of ice," mammal keeper Carlie Zoubek said.

Some of the animals even get custom-flavored popsicles, like the blood-sicle for the tiger.

The porcupines like their popsicles sweet.

"We put the extra fruit in there. It gives them something to kind of search (for). It's an extra treat for them besides just the ice," Amy Bee, senior mammal keeper, said.

Pretty much all of the animals have misters too, and when temperatures get into the 90s or above, zoo keepers turn them on.

Between the misters, the shade and the custom-flavored icy treats, the zoo animals are ready to handle the heat.