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Animals Keeping Cool At Sacramento Zoo


It’s a jungle out there…well, it is at the Sacramento Zoo...the heat isn’t too bad for these Kookaburras, whose native home is Australia and New Guinea.

But every once in awhile all the birds- including the tawny frogmouths - prefer to be hosed down.

 “They really do enjoy a nice good sprinkling, that’s why the exhibit has a mister system to it,” says Leslie Field, Supervisor of Mammals.

She says keepers have spent the last several hot days handing out tasty frozen treats to the animals.

“Sometimes like the carnivores that can be the meat juice as the meat has thawed and, they’ll collect that and they’ll freeze it in what we call blood pops,” says Field.

Bloodpops, yummy, well how about a fishcicle? Otters chew them up.

In this heat, the zoo uses between 300 and 400 pounds of ice in just one a day. The animals the keepers worry about the most are the snow leopards and the red pandas.

Field says the pandas prefer the mid-to-high Himalayan mountain climate, not Sacramento.

“Our Red Pandas do not handle the heat well," she says.  "They are one of the very few animals that are air-conditioned and they have it in their back area. That keeps the temperature well below 80.”

The snow leopards –like domestic cats- will lie on the cool surfaces of their cages to keep comfy.

Zookeepers also provide them with fans and ice. They even have a nice pool.

About the only animals not seeking shade are lions, zebras and giraffes. Sacramento apparently feels more like the African savannah to them.


Amy Quinton

Former Environment Reporter

Amy came to Sacramento from New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) where she was Environment Reporter. Amy has also reported for NPR member stations WFAE in Charlotte, WAMU in Washington D.C. and American Public Media's "Marketplace."  Read Full Bio 

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