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Un-bear-able cold, keeping the animals warm at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo

All of the animals at the zoo have access to heaters during this chilly weather.
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 7:52 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - During these frigid temperatures, you may wonder how animals at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo stay warm. All of the animals at the zoo have access to heaters during this chilly weather. If you visit the zoo this week, you probably won’t see too many animals out and about in the exhibits. That’s because most of them are too busy keeping warm.

When it reaches 45 degrees in Monroe, the animals at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo are taken care of.

“The animals all have access to heat, it’s a USDA requirement,” said the General Curator Lisa Taylor. “If it is closer to 30, between 30 and 35 degrees, we don’t even let the primates out because they can get frostbit just like we can.”

Taylor said the primates get cold the easiest, so they use each other to help stay toasty.

“The primates like to have a companion animal and they even snuggle at night,” said Taylor.

On cold days, the animals have access to a night house attached to their exhibit. They have heaters inside and every evening, the animals are locked in them. Zookeeper Jayme Jordan said her entire morning routine changes during frigid temperatures.

“I have to lock my animals in, I have wind blocks because some of our doors are big wire mesh doors so it’s pretty open to the cold, so at night I have to drag my wood in there, block the door, make sure the heats up,” said Carnivore Keeper, Jayme Jordan.

The flamingos at the zoo stay outside unless it’s freezing rain. Taylor said pool water keeps them warm. When it comes to the reptiles at the zoo...

“We let them hibernate like how they would in the wild. So when the temperatures drop, the alligator’s metabolism drop, we don’t feed them through the winter and we leave them on exhibit,” said Taylor.

The zoo checks each morning to make sure electricity is working and the heat is ready to go for all the animals. They’re also currently excepting any fleece blanket donations for the animals to keep cozy.

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