Well adapted to summer's heat

As temperatures rise, people develop different strategies to counter the effects of summer’s intense heat! How do you handle it? Are you the type who will opt for a refreshing dip in a pool or an ice-cold glass of lemonade? Or, do you prefer to relax in an air-conditioned space? Animals have their own ways of coping with the season’s hot weather … in fact, some of them are quite surprising!

Imagine producing your own sun screen lotion!

The common hippopotamus, although weighing a couple of tons, has very sun-sensitive skin. Aside from spending most of its time in water, the hippo produces a gooey substance giving the pachyderm a pinkish hue. This substance acts as a sun screen, protecting even against ultraviolet rays: what could be more practical than that?

Cover up… Really!

How often have we wondered about animals out in hot weather? “Oh dear! the heat must be horrible with all that fur!” Crazy… or strategic?

Fur acts as a shield, protecting the skin from the sun’s rays; also, in part at least, their fur protects some animals from the effects of the heat by limiting the increase of their body temperature. Also, if their fur is light coloured, for example with lions, it can actually reflect some of the sun’s rays.

To drink or not to drink… lots of water!

Camels are the all-around champions when it comes to survival in intense heat; In fact they can lose up to 20% of their weight in water without suffering from lack of hydration. How do they do it? Contrary to popular belief, you won’t find water in their humps, but instead they store up to 36 kg of fat, which is absorbed by their body when conditions (little water and food supplies) are difficult. Ingenious and… portable!

And at the zoo?

Although they don’t experience the harshness and heat waves in some areas of the world, our Granby zoo residents are still given lots of special attention in order to make their summers more comfortable. We’ve installed water sprayers in certain outdoor parks as well as plenty of shade zones and protective covers; we offer them giant, “flavour of the day” Popsicles (with chunks of fruit for the primates or fish for our felines); we have springs, lakes and ponds to encourage bathing, etc.

With this in mind, everybody, have a great second half of summer!