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What Happens To The Zoo Animals When It Gets This Cold?

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

CRAWLEY Dave Crawley
Dave Crawley joined KDKA in April of 1988 where he reports on the...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium is closed Tuesday, because of the weather.

So how do they protect the zoo animals when the weather gets this cold? It all depends – on the animal.

To the polar bear, this is just another day to luxuriate on the ice, even the lions choose to be outside, though it helps that they have a heated rock.

The Amur tiger is perfectly content, his ancestors came from Siberia.

“They’re in the snow,” says lead animal keeper Kathy Suthard. “They’re rolling. They do have heated beds in their backup area. But usually when I come in in the morning, they’re lying in the snow. This doesn’t bother them at all.”

The zoo’s pink flamingos prefer their heated solarium to a front yard garden in suburbia. The same goes for the reptiles.

Lead reptile keeper Ray Bamrick keeps his cold blooded species, ranging from alligator to anaconda, in a heated holding area through the winter.

“Reptiles that live in Pennsylvania will hibernate, will go under the soil, into deep crevasses under rocks, sometimes into ponds,” he says. “They find places to insulate themselves from extreme temperatures. These animals are not from Pennsylvania, so they can not stay outside.”

The red panda is happy inside or out. Her warm coat insulates her against all but the coldest of temperatures. As for the human species? Depends on their natural habitat.

“I’m from Eagle River, Alaska, so this isn’t too bad,” says visitor Rachel Fore. “It’s snowing, so it’s not too cold outside.”

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