Cold Care for Critters at the Amarillo Zoo - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

01.16.07

Cold Care for Critters at the Amarillo Zoo

When frigid temperatures hit we're not the only ones who want to escape the outdoors.

Exotic animals also need shelter.

And as NewsChannel 10's Blaire Arvin found out, it takes a lot more to care for the animals when the mercury dips.

Lions, bison, and donkeys, oh my! These animals are allowed outdoor time at the Amarillo Zoo...

But when frosty temps hit...

Other creatures here, hunker down indoors.

"Some of our animals that are more tropical are actually brought inside a shelter," says Rhonda Votino.

Like these spider monkeys behind me they stay inside this heated room until the mercury rises.

"Same with our African tortoises, they have a house they come into that has a heater," she says. 

And that means a jump in bills.

From electricity, right down to food.

It costs more to care for the animals in the winter months.

Especially for the newest ones-- the three lions.

More food is dished out to these guys to keep them active and full in fact, each lion gets 7 pounds.

There's also a need for more bedding...

Extra goods, for extra R&R.

But when things do start to thaw out... and the creatures in the shelters re-emerge...

Zookeeper's will still have their hands full with the ones that like to monkey around.

"They do have a water mote and if that is frozen they can walk across the ice and let themselves out so we have to be very careful with that ... if they see an opportunity like that they will take advantage of it," says Votino.

They probably won't have that opportunity anytime soon.

Because after all old man winter isn't done, just yet.

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