Winter on the Wild Side

Ever wonder where the animals go when the weather gets cold?

 The Oklahoma City Zoo is home to a wide variety of animals which originate from all over the world.  These parts of the world experience different temperatures and climates. Oklahoma can get cold during the winter but, in comparison to some parts of the United States and the world, our state is considered to have usually mild winters.

 Our caretakers ensure that the Zoo’s animals have structures or shelters in their habitats. Each animal can choose to be where they are the most comfortable during the winter and year round.

 The mammals in the Pachyderm building, including three Indian rhinos and a pygmy hippo, stay outside during the day and night if the temperature is above 40 degrees. The only exception is our pygmy hippo, Wolee, who is a little older and likes to swim so much that he is able to come inside when the temperatures is below 50 degrees so he can swim in a warm pool. The entire pachyderm building is heated during the winter months.

 The birds and sloth Henry have enclosures in the Pachyderm building that are temperature controlled year round.

 The deer species, located in an expansive, lush habitat west of the Pachyderm building, have multiple barns they can venture in and out of during the entire year. The whitetail deer are native to Oklahoma and adapt well to our winter weather. The barns for the Asian deer species have heaters and beds in case the deer decide the weather outside is too cold.

 Want to know how our grizzly bears, Will and Wiley, prepare their dens for the winter? Click here. You’ll dig it!!

– Daniel Custar, lead animal caretaker of pachyderms

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