Where Are The Zoo Animals During The Winter?

"Because the zoo is closed, revenue is not coming in. But because the heat is on, the keepers are here. Because the animals are eating, the costs are still happening. So we do need the wonderful support of our community."

- John Chapo, Lincoln Children's Zoo President.

To support the Lincoln Children's Zoo, click HERE.

The Lincoln's Children's Zoo is closed for winter but that doesn't mean there isn't anything going on. All of the animals with the exception of the ponies stay at the zoo all winter long, still needing to be fed and taken care of. Of course many of the animals are warm climate animals and have to come indoors when the temperature plummets. One of those animals are the cold blooded tortoises from Africa and South America.

"Tortoises the ones we have here, the three different species, they are totally dependent on their environment for their body temperature," said John Chapo, Lincoln Children's Zoo President. "So they love 70 and 80 degree days in the summer here in Nebraska, but they don't like 30 degrees or colder, so they come inside for the winter, into the Ethel S. Abbot Animal Care Center."

The temperature is kept at 76 degrees and is equipped with heat lamps where the tortoises love to sit under and eat. Another animal at the zoo that doesn't like the cold are the Dwarf African Crocodiles. The female crocodile wasn't too happy that we invaded her warm holding area.

Even though they are one of the smallest crocodiles in the world, they are still very quick and they have very large teeth and damage could occur. (This is why Brad stayed outside the cage during the filming of this segment.)

One of more popular animals at the Lincoln Children's Zoo are the penguins. Believe it or not, these penguins don't like the cold either. The penguins at the zoo are Humboldt Penguins and are native to the coast of Peru.

"They don't want to be outside below freezing," Chapo said. "We have to actually worry about frostbite with these species of penguins. What do you do in Lincoln, Nebraska? You bring them inside."

The penguins enjoy two square meals a day, clean water and a 5,000 gallon pool. The zookeepers are there everyday during the winter months to take care of the 300 animals at the zoo. The zookeepers know the animals depend on them so they make sure they make it here even during blizzards and bitter cold. Because of all this activity, the non-profit Lincoln Children's Zoo still needs support during the long off season.

"Because the zoo is closed, revenue is not coming in. But because the heat is on, the keepers are here. Because the animals are eating, the costs are still happening. So we do need the wonderful support of our community," Chapo said.


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