Ice lollies and cold showers - how zoo animals have been keeping cool in the heatwave

  • Watch animals at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm staying cool in the sun

Keepers at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in Somerset have found a variety of ways to keep the animals cool during the current heatwave.

They have been busy preparing special ice lollies for their charges - catering the flavours and ingredients to the species. It may come as no surprise that the siamang gibbons were treated to banana ices.

Keeper Jo Thrower said: “Our gibbons typically have a healthy fruit free diet, so it is a wonderful treat to give them during the recent heatwave. Staying healthy, each ice lolly has one teaspoon of mashed banana, using bamboo sticks for handles.

“We do our best to cater the flavour to each species. The primates have also been offered frozen whole vegetables to help keep them cool during these high temperatures.”

The Bactrian camels queued up for their frozen sweet potato treats. Credit: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

The African elephants at the zoo at Wraxall have been making full use of their built-in showers and outdoor pool - having a trunk always comes in handy.

While the ostriches were given a good soaking by their keeper, Jayne Gibbons.

There's nothing like a refreshing shower in the heat - courtesy of ostrich keeper Jayne Gibbons. Credit: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

Keeper Jayne Gibbons from Noah's Ark Zoo Farm said: “Ostriches actually tolerate high temperatures of up to 40°C so they will happily handle a British heatwave.

"In high temperatures, they can be seen to be gular fluttering and feather fluffing to cool down. However, they do still enjoy a cooling shower with the hot weather.”

This ring-tailed lemur is being treated to a gigantic ice lolly especially prepared by staff at Bristol Zoo. Credit: Bristol Zoo Gardens

Bristol Zoo keepers have also been busy in the kitchen as temperatures soared to 30°C, creating ices out of the animals' favourite vegetables, including sweet potatoes and peppers.

In a move worthy of Masterchef, they gave them extra flavour by mixing in fruit teas. Their creations went down well with the ring-tailed lemurs.

Lynsey Bugg, Curator of Mammals at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “In the wild, these animals would find shade deep under the canopy of the rainforest.

“But here we need to give a little extra help and just like us they benefit from having an ice lolly on a hot day. 

 “It helps them cool down and as they have to work to get to the vegetables inside, it enriches their day on that level too.”

Keepers at Bristol Zoo have excelled themselves with this lolly they created for one of the keas. Credit: Bristol Zoo Gardens

Keepers also took steps to help the zoo’s two red pandas as the temperature nudged close to 30°C on Monday and Tuesday. They put down cooling mats in their enclosure to help counter the heat.

Lynsey Bugg said: “They really don’t like it this hot especially as they have fur on the underside of their paws to help them in freezing weather. So the mats really help them.”

Bristol Zoo has filmed some of the animals coping in the heat - including the red pandas.

  • Video by Bristol Zoo Gardens

At Newquay Zoo in Cornwall, staff have turned their hands to ice cream making to help their animals battle the heat.

This capuchin monkey has got the hot weather 'licked'. Credit: Megan Hing / Newquay Zoo

The capuchins have been enjoying frozen bananas and oat ice cream at their Newquay home.

Medo, a golden lion tamarin, enjoyed eating a frozen banana while the Goeldi's monkey took time out to pose for the camera before tucking into his treat.

Medo the golden lion tamarin is left with ice cream on his face, while this little Goeldi's monkey is more interested in the camera. Credit: Megan Hing / Newquay Zoo