The dog days of summer are upon us, and the heat affects more than just humans. Chehaw Park zookeepers help the exotic animals in South Georgia beat the summer heat.
"We tend to worry about the hot weather a lot more than I worry about cold weather," said Ben Roberts, Director of Animal Care.
To prevent overheating, the zoo doesn't bring in animals they think would have a problem handling the Georgia heat. Most of the zoo's animals, like the camels, adapt to the heat on their own.
"During the summer, they lose all that fur. If you come out and look at our camels now, our male camel has a very thin undercoat," said Roberts.
Other animals use the zoo's landscape to keep cool. "The mud wallow for the rhino helps them control their body temperature. They will roll in the mud, the mud cakes on to their body, and it keeps the sun off of their skin," said Roberts.
Other animals will hang out in the shade, where they have 24/7 access to fresh water, waiting on a special treat. Chehaw has a giant cooler containing fruits and vegetables for animals, and frozen treats that they eat on very hot days.
Roberts also said the average body temperature is higher for mammals at the park compared to humans. "The average temperature for most other mammals tends to be somewhere between 102-105 degrees. What's hot for us might not be quite as hot for another animal," said Roberts.
Even though the warmest days of the summer are probably still ahead of us, the animals here at Chehaw have plenty of ways to stay cool.
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