I did a post a few months ago about an outdoor playpen that we were working on for our education animals that live inside. We wanted this enclosure to be suitable for many different animals to use, and with some work we made that possible. Now this outdoor area can hold opossums, chinchillas, ferrets, rabbits, chickens, turtles, bearded dragons and alligators (not all together, of course!) We are pretty excited about having this new enrichment possibility for our animals, as well as giving them the opportunity to absorb some natural UVB light from the sun. For many animals, UVB and UVA light is essential in order to stay healthy.
Below are some pictures of “Ed”, our off-exhibit alligator that is used for educational programs, basking in the outdoor playpen. You can see in the picture to the left that he has a blue tub of water that he can get in if he wants, as well as having the option of a shady side and a sunny side inside the enclosure. Now that the days are getting hotter, we have to pay close attention to the temperature when putting the animals out. Therefore, all the animals have specific temperature ranges and time allowances in which they can be outside. During the hottest summer days, this means only being able to go outside in the morning when it’s still relatively cool.