Keeping zoo residents warm during this arctic blast
During these harsh cold snaps it's important to keep your pets safe and keep them inside as much as possible. The same goes for some wilder species of animals, too.
Staff at the Chattanooga Zoo have been taking precautions the past couple of days to make sure their "pets" stay comfortable. Some animals at the zoo are used to frigid temperatures, but for the ones that aren't, having a few simple creature comforts can help them until things warm up.
One example is the jaguars. Once it's colder than about 30 degrees, they don't like to be outside much. So the zoo staff keep them inside a heated room. There's also hay and straw bedding to give these beautiful cats a more pleasant surface for sleeping and hunkering down. They can come back outside when they please, and will do so once it's milder. When temperatures are too cold again at night they'll go back indoors.
Animals with thick coats like camels aren't too high maintenance and don't mind staying outside. To help out they wear these jackets and are given extra food at night to keep their metabolism up which helps also keeps them warm.
Zoo curator Stacey Laberdee says it's important to help the animals when they come to a different environment. "In captive situations the animals don't have as much control over their environments. So even though you do see animals out in the wild, the same ones that we have that are able to survive there, they also have more options of trying to stay warm."
A few other animals that typically stay inside in the extreme cold are cougars, coyotes, and owls.