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Animals feel the heat


Natalie Thomas, reporter
May 31, 2012 — We all know what it feels like to be outside on a hot and humid day, but do animals experience the heat like we do? We spoke with the experts at African Lion Safari to find out.


On a hot day animals look for shade and water
On a hot day animals look for shade and water

"They're exactly like us," says Serge Lussier, Superintendent of the Game Farm at African Lion Safari. "If you do not feel comfortable because it's too hot and humid, it'll be the same for them," Lussier adds. "But their instinct is very strong and they will look for that comfort. When you keep them in captivity what you need to do is to make sure that everything is accessible for them to go and get that comfort and this is what we do at African Lion Safari."

African Lion Safari is a piece of Africa in the heart of southern Ontario and southern Ontario, as we know, can get hot and humid at this time of the year.

On a hot day, Lussier says the animals look for shade and water.

"We make sure in every section we have a lake, a pond, a river, accessible for the species to go out and swim. Not only drink, but swim."

Some of the animals also enjoy a nice popsicle to keep cool.

Lions spare their energy when it's hot
Lions spare their energy when it's hot

"So we'll do fruitsicles for our monkeys or primates," Lussier laughs. "And bigger kinds of popsicles for our big cats. So the lions and cheetahs will get ice cubes. Large ice cubes with vitamins and nutrients and also making sure that they like the taste."

As for the lions, they sleep a lot whether it is hot or cold out, but Lussier tells us that when it is very warm, they will spare their energy.

"They'll lay down in the shade and just wait till it cools off. They'll be more active at night. But lions especially, they can sleep 22 hours out of 24."

Believe it or not, many of the animals like to be out in the winter, too.

"If you make sure that the zebra gets out every day in the fall, when comes winter, their fur is grown. So he's ready for it," Lussier notes. "So this is what we do year after year with the species that need to go out, because we love to let them out and exercise out in the winter. And a lot of them like the snow. We don't think about that, but a lot of them do like the snow."

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