White lion with ice cake at Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo cooling off.

As the summer heats up in Texas, we are often asked what our staff does to keep the animal residents cool. The short answer is — a lot! Many of our critters really enjoy this warmer weather, but because we house species from all over the world, many of them are not biologically accustomed to the high temperatures we experience here in Texas. Our staff has lots of protocols in place to make sure that all of the animals in our care are healthy and comfortable in all weather conditions.

“Water” We Doing to Keep the Animals Cool?

Many factors come into play when managing animals in warmer temperatures. Things like individual species requirements, the age of the animal, exhibit design and location, presence of shade, and so on. The most important thing is that our animals have access to fresh, clean water. Many of our exhibits have beautiful water features, like our otter and jaguar exhibits. The water in these habitats are constantly run through a filter to ensure the animals have access to deliciously refreshing water. Some of our other exhibits, like our red ruffed lemurs, have misting systems that provide water vapor to help the animals stay cool. Think of it as the lemur-version of playing in the sprinklers at your home on a hot day!

When looking at animals in some of our other exhibits, you may not be able to see the source of drinking water. For exhibits like our white-cheeked gibbons, we use automatic waterers called Lixits. These sources of water are perfect for mischievous animals who like to tip water bowls or get them dirty by putting rocks and mulch in them. Lixits are connected to fresh water and eliminate a lot of issues caused by traditional water bowls. These drinking devices are often placed in locations that are a bit hidden to our visitors. For our gibbons, it’s camouflaged within the rock work. See if you can spot it next time you’re visiting the Zoo!

Ice Ice Baby

Another technique we use is ice. Ice enrichment can be used in many different ways. Sometimes it can be incorporated into a yummy treat. Klaus the dromedary camel is a big fan of ice blocks that have apples frozen inside. Other animals, like our lions, enjoy broth and bloodsicles. Other animals, like Joe the fennec fox, prefer the simpler things in life and are perfectly happy just laying next to a cool ice cube.

We haven’t forgotten about our visitors! Keeping our supporters cool during these hot days is just as important. Much of our outdoor portion of the Zoo is shaded. We also have cooling misters by the Two Rivers Mining Company. Water, ice cream, and other yummy treats are available for purchase. Our Gift Shop / Reptile Building is air conditioned, so you can shop and check out our top 10 most venomous snakes in comfort!

Temperature management is a big deal to us here at Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo. Just like you, we want all of our animals to enjoy summertime!

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