Animals

Brevard Zoo prepares animals for cold weather

A lot of the animals at the Brevard Zoo, like most of us from Florida, think anything below 65 degrees is cold. So that means a heating system is critical and the zoo recently upgraded its network of heaters.“Most of the habitats have been updated now so they have radiant heat panels or heat bulbs that have lower light and greater heat output. And the great part about them is that they are all hardwired in place. So when cold weather comes along you just turn a switch,” said Megan Stankiewicz, curator of animals at the Brevard Zoo.Some of the animals might need a bit more help keeping themselves warm, so blankets are distributed along with some customization.“Most of the time they can figure it out on their own. Or we can do things like kind of know where in their habitat where they tend to spend most of their time and intentionally put the heater there,” Stankiewicz said.This time of year most of the animals are fed more as it helps them put on extra insulation for winter. While many of the animals at the zoo will keep warm with electric heaters when we hit these really cold temperatures over the next few days. But the black bears were just given extra hay so they can keep themselves warm.Once the temperatures drop, the Florida black bears will instinctually build a den with the hay and hunker down until it warms back up.Zoo workers will make rounds over the next few days, looking for signs of the chill impacting the animals.But what about our pets at home? They’re less exotic, but the things to look out for are similar. “Any kind of odd behavior. Slowing down. Shivering. Those types of things – going off food. Could be indications that something more might be going on,” Stankiewicz said. If you think something is going on, warm your pet up and call a vet and make sure you keep them inside.

A lot of the animals at the Brevard Zoo, like most of us from Florida, think anything below 65 degrees is cold.

So that means a heating system is critical and the zoo recently upgraded its network of heaters.

“Most of the habitats have been updated now so they have radiant heat panels or heat bulbs that have lower light and greater heat output. And the great part about them is that they are all hardwired in place. So when cold weather comes along you just turn a switch,” said Megan Stankiewicz, curator of animals at the Brevard Zoo.

Some of the animals might need a bit more help keeping themselves warm, so blankets are distributed along with some customization.

“Most of the time they can figure it out on their own. Or we can do things like kind of know where in their habitat where they tend to spend most of their time and intentionally put the heater there,” Stankiewicz said.

This time of year most of the animals are fed more as it helps them put on extra insulation for winter.

While many of the animals at the zoo will keep warm with electric heaters when we hit these really cold temperatures over the next few days. But the black bears were just given extra hay so they can keep themselves warm.

Once the temperatures drop, the Florida black bears will instinctually build a den with the hay and hunker down until it warms back up.

Zoo workers will make rounds over the next few days, looking for signs of the chill impacting the animals.

But what about our pets at home? They’re less exotic, but the things to look out for are similar.

“Any kind of odd behavior. Slowing down. Shivering. Those types of things – going off food. Could be indications that something more might be going on,” Stankiewicz said.

If you think something is going on, warm your pet up and call a vet and make sure you keep them inside.

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