Lincoln Children’s Zoo keeps animals cool in heat wave

By: Rachael Witter

The zoo says there are two kinds of animals keeping cool at the zoo this summer: the two-legged ones that walk through the front gate and the ones that live there.

If you thought your air conditioning bill was high, try cooling off a whole lot of animals. The Lincoln Children's Zoo works hard in this heat to make sure all the animals are comfortable.

“This extended hot weather costs everybody more. Everyone's got their air conditioning running a lot more, the Children's Zoo is no different. We have to have staff working longer hours to make sure there's comfort. We have to spend extra dollars in resources to make sure the animals are comfortable. Those air conditioners are on, the doors are open, the animals are coming and going,” said John Chapo, President of Lincoln Children's Zoo.

THe zookeepers have plenty of tricks to protect the animals. All the critters have access to an air conditioned area if they get too hot, or have misters, fans and even get iced down. But if they are out in the heat, animals stay cool in their own ways.

Galapagos turtles like to bury themselves in the mud, while others just tend to cool off in the shade. But if there's one animal that's adapted to the Nebraska heat, it is a camel. Butterflies also like the heat. “The hotter and drier the better. The butterflies love Nebraska summers. You can check out the butterfly pavilion and you're just swarmed by butterflies,” said Chapo.

With this hot summer, zookeepers are working especially hard to keep what they call, 'their babies' safe and comfortable. “These animals quite often are their children. They're babies and they take care of them 365,” said Chapo.

For humans that come visit, there are misters throughout the zoo and plenty of shade.