Adelaide Zoo’s animals received a host of icy enrichment today and will throughout the week to help them keep cool during this week’s forecast hot spell. Keepers were busy delivering icy treats to the tapir, capybara, otters, hyena, meerkats, baboons and mandrills and no sooner were they delivered than the animals tucked in and chilled out.
Our keepers maintain a regular watch on the weather forecast, noting when a hot spell is approaching so that they can get the ice blocks in the freezer and get hoses ready for action.
“We often put chopped up fruits and veg into the ice blocks to help the animals cool off. This hot weather enrichment allows animals to stay cool while also being mentally stimulated and challenged, based on their natural behaviours and instincts,” said keeper Kat Moore.
“The meerkats enjoy scratching away at the ice blocks so they can get to veggies (including corn) inside.
“Our tapir were loving their cooling enrichment. Visitors were able to hear their teeth scraping on the ice. And, when they had enough ice, they took a plunge in their pool,” finished Kat.
Whether the weather is hot or not, our dedicated keepers incorporate varied and engaging enrichment programs into each of our animal’s daily routines.
While many of the animals chose to eat their icy treats from the ground, the otters enjoyed paddling around in their pool with a large ice ball packed with treats.
The hot weather doesn’t only affect the animals at Adelaide Zoo, we recommend that pet owners think about their animals at home during the hot weather season.
Adelaide Zoo keeper Erin Turrell said while every animal handles the heat differently, having water and shade available was a top priority.
“Leaving water out in different sized containers is a great way to make sure native animals both big and small can stay hydrated,” Erin said.
“If you can include some sticks and rocks in small containers it helps little lizards and insects access a drink safely.
“Birds love splashing about in water and will really appreciate a nice big container to have a bath in.
“For pets, where possible they should be brought inside to stay cool and make sure they have plenty of icy water available and a nice cool spot to sit.”
Pets at home need the same considerations as zoo animals when it comes to nutrition, environment, behaviour and health. Zoos SA’s Animal Welfare Tool for pets lets users assess the welfare of their animals in their own home, and includes helpful tips and advice for ensuring their pet is leading a happy and healthy life.
Visitors to Adelaide Zoo will see a range of enrichment offered to animals, so make sure to come along and see for yourself (and grab a cooling ice cream and drink too!)