PHOENIX - To beat the heat, are you eating a lot of popsicles? Jumping in the pool? Rolling around in the mud?
Well, maybe not that last one. But those are some of the ways animals at the Phoenix Zoo are staying cool under this oppressive heat.
Some Borneo orangutans received an ice cold treat to stave off the blistering temperatures.
"They can eat it if they want, put it in their hands, soak them - it’s just as a means to keep cool," said Jessica Hintz, senior primate keeper at the Phoenix Zoo. "They’re actually in an air conditioned exhibit room they can stay in all day long."
With temperatures soaring in at 115 degrees and above, she says they offer fun ways to keep them cool.
They can leave the A/C, choosing to keep cool by ripping a shirt over their body and standing in a fountain of water.
But the heat isn’t the only issue.
"The harder thing for them is going to be how dry it is," Hintz said. "They’re used to rainforests [for] the humidity."
Why not take a shower to cool off?
A Galapagos tortoise at the zoo was laying down motionless until the hose came out. The bath drew in other friends looking for a cooldown.
All the animals at the zoo get special care and close supervision to make sure they’re doing okay in the heat. Plus, elephants get showers too!
The senior elephant keeper, Corey Barr, says they offer sweet treats as well.
"This is Gatorade powder mixed with half of a cucumber and frozen," Barr said. "We like to freeze it in the summer because of how nasty it gets…we also provide them with fans and misters."
She says the elephants cover themselves in mud, and they keep a close eye on them as the sun bakes the city.
"If we see her overexerting herself in the sun that’s pretty abnormal," said Barr. "If they aren’t seeking out shade, that worries us."
But they’ve been happy and healthy, soaking up the rays and enjoying popsicles just like anyone else on a hot summer day.
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