Word has it (thanks for the tip Mike Williams) that a lot of people are wondering how we keep our animals safe and warm in the winter.
The answer is different for each animal. If you have been in the farmyard this winter you may have seen the goats in coats or even Lightning, the donkey, in a coat. You may have also seen red ominous glowing coming from the stalls. These are heat lamps set up to add extra heat for the animals. The animals that like to bed down also get extra hay to snuggle up into, these include: goats, pigs and rabbits. Our two raptors in the farmyard also have heated perches and heat pads.
We also have extra precautions when the temperatures fall really low. When it gets below freezing the goats are locked into their stall at night and when it is below 15 degrees the rabbits are locked inside. I haven’t mentioned Max, the steer, or the alpacas because they are fine in cold temperatures.
All of the animals out in Explore the Wild also have different cold weather preparations. The lemurs all have heat lamps in their stalls.
Also, they cannot go outside if temperatures are below 40 degrees. If temperatures are between 40 and 50 degrees they have access to the exhibit, meaning they can chose to go outside or to stay inside. They also live in a heated building which stays around 68 degrees in the winter.
The bears and the wolves are both native to North Carolina so they are adapted to the climate here. We do provide the bears with lots of hay to make beds. We also add Christmas trees to help insulate their beds. They also have access to the bear house at night which has hay for them and protection from the elements.
We provide hay for the wolves but not all of our wolves have chosen to use it. This year our female wolf does use the hay to sleep in. They also have a man-made den which has bedding and would provide shelter.