Denver Zoo uses ‘bloodsicles,’ other odd methods to cool animals amid summer heat

DENVER (KDVR) - As temperatures slowly creep toward the triple digits, Coloradans are looking for ways to cool down in the summer heat. However, some Denver residents need more than just air conditioning and water.

The Denver Zoo Conservation Alliance told Nexstar's KDVR that it provides cool indoor spaces for every animal, but not every animal wants to stay inside.

"Air-conditioned indoor spaces are available to cool off, but unsurprisingly, our wild animals do want to be outside—and we want that for them," the zoo said.

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To keep the animals cool during the historically hottest days of the summer, animal care specialists at the zoo are taking creative measures to keep the animals cool.

Zoo using odd methods to cool animals

For some animals, specialists at the zoo are using fans, misters and ice machines during the warm weather. Meanwhile, other animals are using odd and pricey methods to stay cool.

Denver Zoo's "Bloodsicle"(Credit: Denver Zoo)Animals cooling off at the Denver Zoo (Credit: Denver Zoo)Animals cooling off at the Denver Zoo (Credit: Denver Zoo)Animals cooling off at the Denver Zoo (Credit: Denver Zoo)Animals cooling off at the Denver Zoo (Credit: Denver Zoo)Animals cooling off at the Denver Zoo (Credit: Denver Zoo)

For the Amur tigers, whose natural habitat is in Siberia, the zoo said the specialists make meat and blood popsicles, or "bloodsicles" if you will.

While it's not exactly appetizing for humans, the zoo said they're loved by the big cats, especially because the popsicles provide mental stimulation. 

Meanwhile, the zoo's spotted hyenas like to cool down in bubble baths.

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"Bubble baths also serve as enrichment, as hyenas like to cache things in water and come back to them later. Our Animal Care staff hides fun items for the pack to find and ups the challenge level by making the items hard to see," according to the zoo.

Other animals just need shade, but the shade comes at a price.

For some zoo habitats, animals require shade solutions more than just tree coverage. For flamingos, the zoo uses a custom shade sail.

After the concrete caissons, structural steel for poles, the shade material and installation, the zoo said it ends up costing $65,000 a pop.

While the animals want to be outside, the specialists are using just about everything to keep the animals comfortable during the hottest days of the year.

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