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Palm Beach Zoo prepares animals, habitats for cold weather

Zoo welcomes guests to enjoy weather with animals
Posted at 10:14 PM, Jan 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 23:43:44-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Palm Beach Zoo staff has been hard at work to make sure their animals stay warm during Friday night's drop in temperature.

"We are prepared for some of those milder cold fronts that do come through. But the one that's coming through this weekend hasn't been seen since 2010," said Devin Clarke, the primate and carnivore supervisor at the Palm Beach Zoo.

With a herd of some 500 animals from tigers to bears, Clarke said staff has been stocking up on food, extra bedding such as hay and heat lamps for some habitats.

"A lot of our animals, like our howler monkeys, who love their heat lamps, even if it's 80 degrees, will run right to them," said Clarke. "As soon as we turned them on this morning, they all B-lined right to the heat lamps."

A lot of the animals will have the option of staying out in their habitat or going into their night house.

But reptiles will be going into their heated enclosures.

"So, reptiles in general they are cold-blooded. They can't regulate their own body temperature, so that's when they need to go into a heated building," said Clarke.

For other animals furs, feathers and basic survival instincts will get them through the night.

"So the flamingos here at the Palm Beach Zoo actually keep themselves warm, so the water itself is going to be a lot warmer than the air," said Clarke. "And what they do is they stand on one leg, they pull that leg up under their feathers. It keeps that one leg warm while the other one is in the water keeping the rest of their body warm."

Vanessa Wells, who was visiting the zoo with her family, said she loves coming here.

"It's such a great, positive environment for the children, for each other," said Wells.

Staff said many animals are loving the cold weather and are even more active.

"So, when we do get colder temperatures, our animals kind of act the same as some of us when we get colder temperatures," added Clarke. "We get a little more energetic, like our house animals get the zoomies. A lot of our bigger cats, tigers, panthers, jaguars get the zoomies and be feeling really good."

For the animals that do stay out in their habitats, staff will be monitoring them and alert their veterinary staff if there are any issues.

"We are hoping that our mitigation that we put forth beforehand really helps them through the night," said Clarke. "But we do have a fantastic veterinary team here with our head veterinarian, vet techs that are on hand every single day, work here every single day to care for the animals."

Over the weekend, the zoo will be open and staff welcomes guests to come by and enjoy the weather with the animals.