When its really really cold
Frigid weather brings out some animals at zoo
B-r-r-r-r, it’s cold outside. When the temperature dips way down as it has in past day — and will continue awhile longer — some of the animals at Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot still like to be outdoors.
“Cold weather animals can go out if they wish but all have shelters,” said Jennifer Kleen, executive director of the Minot Zoo Crew, on Friday. She said all other zoo inhabitants stay inside on these frigid weather days.
On Friday, one of the Amur tigers was walking around in its cage while another tiger rested under some protection.
Amur tigers have “built-in” ways to conquer the cold, according to zoo information. They have a layer of fat on their flanks and belly that helps protect them from the elements. Their thick, long coats also help keep them warm. Like most tigers, Amur tigers have a ruff of fur around their neck and extra fur on the paws to protect them from the cold snow like built-in “snow boots.”
Other cold weather animals like the Japanese serows on Friday stood on top of a small “mountain” of snow or peeked out from beside a tree in their area. The llamas stood close to their shelter.
Japanese serows in their native habitat live in the mountains in Japan and are known to stand on high lookouts for long periods of time so they can detect predators or territorial rivals, according to zoo information.
Thickly coated llamas in their native South America are used as pack animals in the Andes Mountains by people in that area.
Dr. Tara Reilly, Minot zoo veterinarian, said when it’s cold, the animals get extra food.
The zoo grounds were quiet on this day, except for the zookeepers going about their work.
Inside the Visitor Center at the zoo, children finished their last day of Winter Zoo Camp. During the camp children did activities including science experiments to learn how penguins and others stay warm in icy water.
The zoo is open in the winter, weather permitting. When the temperature “feels like” below zero, the zoo is not open, said Kleen.
The zoo’s normal winter schedule is Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. It will be closed on New Year’s Day.