With temperatures in Redding hitting triple digits Friday, staff at Turtle Bay Exploration Park are working hard to keep animals nice and cool during the hot summer months.
“Whenever it hits 100 degrees or more here at Turtle Bay, we really want to help give the animals a break from the heat,” Turtle Bay animal curator Sharon Clay said. “And since they can't all go into some beautiful air conditioned room like us, we have other tactics.”
Staff dumped piles of ice in some animals' cages which they say critters can play with or eat to keep cool.
“The porcupine loves to lay on her ice,” Clay said. “So she cools her belly that way. Birds like to stand on the ice because they cool through their legs and their feet.”
But for those animals with a more carnivorous palate, they have a special treat just for them.
“Just like we like to eat an ice pop with great fruit flavor, they love ice pops that are flavored with blood,” Clay said. “So the bobcat gets ice pops. Any of them that are meat eaters get these, what we call bloodcicles.”
Clay says most of the animals at Turtle Bay are native to Northern California, so they're used to the climate
And those that aren't native come from areas with similar climates.
She says they've even engineered their habitats to make sure the animals are at their most comfortable.
“So they're in shaded areas and we actually designed these areas so that they have the shade in the afternoon,” Clay said.
As for the birds, they get to cool off in a way that's a little more fun.
“We give them showers and mist them as well,” Clay said. “The have a lot of fun. It cools them off again, just like us running through sprinklers. Same idea.”
But she says the lucky one come summertime is the Timber, the resident beaver who can cool off anytime by taking a dip in his pool which is kept at a chilly 52 degrees.