Everyone wonders what the animals in the zoo do in the winter time.  Do they go outside? Do they enjoy the snow and cold temperatures?  The answer for some like our Snow Leopards is absolutely!  Many of our North American animals, such as the Otters, Mountain Lions, and Bears also get to go outside in the snow and cold.  Even the African Lions get to topple snowmen when the weather is warm enough.  Just because some of our animals stay indoors doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the snow too.  We simply have to bring it to them!  We do this with many of the mammals you see in the tropics building such as the Spider Monkeys, Black-Footed Cats, Kinkajous, and others.  They may never get a chance to encounter snow in their natural habitat yet, they seem to enjoy investigating and playing in it here.  We use the snow as a form of enrichment, kind of like a treat, that can stimulate their mind and senses to keep their days from being boring.   Sometimes we hide favorite food items, scents, or other toys in the snow for the animals to find.  For the Spider Monkeys in this video, you can see we used powdered Jello to make Monkey snow cones, frozen globs of strawberry jam, as well as hide some of the their food in the snow.  It is lots of fun for the animals and the zoo keepers to see what fun and exciting ways we can come up with to keep our animals active, curious, and happy.   CHECK OUT THE VIDEO!  

About Keith Sprague

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Keith has been a zookeeper at JBZ for four years.  

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