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Zoo animals find natural ways to cool down

News Center 23
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POSTED: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - 4:48pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - 8:12am

It's easy for people to cool off by way of air conditioning or a cold water bottle in the Texas heat. But when you're an animal in captivity, it's essential to find natural ways to stay cool. That's why Gladys Porter Zoo purposely sought out animals who've been engineered to thrive in such hot climates.

"Our animal collection is basically animals that come from tropical regions of the world that can take this kind of heat. And that's deliberate. We specialize in tropical animals," said Patrick Burchfield, director of Gladys Porter Zoo.

"This is a great place to see all these subtropical species, because the weather as you noticed, is rather warm," said Charles Clark, a zoo patron.

"Sub tropical animals, like chimps, are a lot like humans in that they like to stay cool in hot weather. Often times, they'll do this by staying in the shade or near water."

While you might not see panda, polar bear, or penguin exhibits, Glady's Porter zookeepers help pamper the animals that can't always weather the heat.

"If we have an animal species that is having a problem, we make an accommodation, and most of our buildings, uh, it's just a matter of opening a door and letting 'em inside where there's more shade and good ventilation," said Burchfield.

But for people who want to see the animals in action while they're at the zoo, the heat can create an issue.

"Most animal species that live in tropics, uh, they're sitting in the shade, they're not active during the hottest parts of the day, and so I would say to you the best time to come to the zoo during the hottest parts of the year are in the morning or the later afternoon because then the animals are gonna be out, more active and up and moving around," said Burchfield.

Reporting in Brownsville, Marty Watson, KVEO News Center 23.

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