As the temperatures started to fall and the first of June arrived many people wondered what our animals do in winter to keep warm.
The animals in our care at Taronga come from places with a huge range of climates. We’re lucky that Sydney has such a moderate climate and our dedicated keeping staff work tirelessly to ensure that they replicate these natural conditions for the animals in their care as much as possible.
Marine mammals like Casey and Sabine the Leopard Seals come from Antarctica so Sydney’s winter would be considered quite mild for them, but they still eat slightly more food over the winter months to increase their body fat that insulates and keeps them warmer.
Many people have seen our meerkats bask under their heat lamps as winter sets in. They are from the Kalahari Desert where temperatures range from 20 to 45 degrees Celsius. In the desert they would naturally stand on their hind legs using their tail for balance, pointing their chest at the roasting sun to warm up. They do exactly the same thing at Taronga with the benefit that even on a cloudy day they can warm up under the heat lamps provided by keepers.
Many other animals have special electrically-heated rocks and are given extra bedding in their night dens. It’s just like us turning on a heater at home or throwing an extra doona or blanket on your bed at night.
Ben, Zoo Communications