With record breaking temperatures last week some of you may be wondering how we help to keep our animals comfortable during the summer.

Well, keeping cool can be a lot of fun and our keepers use a variety of methods to make sure our animals don’t get hot and bothered.

With animals native to locations across the world, providing comfort to each animal is a process which is given a lot of consideration.

Many of our animals are adapted for the heat, due to where they would live in the wild, ranging from species which are native to the hot and humid Amazon rainforest (such as our jaguars and tapirs) to species such as our meerkats who would be inhabitants of the arid and dusty Kalahari desert (which can reach temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius). But even they don’t miss out on summer treats!

Whilst a number of animals at WWP may embrace the heat, others can find it to be a bit too much. So what do we do to help?

Shelter and water

All of our animals have access to their indoor and outside areas so if they wish to escape the direct glare of the sun during the warmer months they can retire to their bedrooms (unlike many of us, animals will naturally seek out the shade). In addition to this, most enclosures have lots of shady spots to cool off in outdoors too, giving them the choice of catching a few rays, remaining outside but in the shade or to stay indoors.

Of course, fresh, clean water is also essential and checked/ topped up regularly by keepers throughout the day to make sure that they are all well hydrated.

Chilean flamingo at Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent


In addition to shelter and water there are lots of fun ways that our animals find to cool off too.

Swimming and paddling

A wide variety of our animals enjoy a dip, whether it be swimming, paddling or simply lounging around in it. There’s no doubt that our otters, penguins and flamingos love the water but they are not alone, especially during the summer!

Our tapirs, Nando and Kathleen can hardly resist the water (especially in the morning) and have access to our lake during the summer in which you can watch them cool off, splash around and even jump into off of the banks!

tapir swimming at Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent

Some animals which enjoy the water can be surprising though! Unlike many other cats, tigers love to submerge themselves in water right up to their necks. Tigers even have partial webbing between their toes which helps them with swimming. Troy and Blade can often be seen enjoying a cooling and relaxing long soak in their pool during the warmer months.

tiger in pool at Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent

Paddling pools are also great for helping smaller species to cool down. Our raccoons and coatis all had fun with this last week, hopping in and out of the water as much as they liked as well as enjoying a few tasty snacks in there too.

raccoons at Wingham WIldlife Park, Kent

Our raccoons and coatis aren’t the only ones who enjoy a pool snack! Aroon and Mika the moon bears also enjoy a cooling scatter feed in their pool, scooping up all the floating fruit and veggies.

Moon Bears at Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent

Keeping cool with frozen treats

Just as we like an ice cream on a hot day, many of our animals enjoy a frozen treat too! This can come in may forms but includes, frozen bottles of water to roll around with, fruity ice poles, frozen fruit and bloodcicles for our carnivores (yum!). Not only are they tasty treats but they can also provide fun enrichment for them too.

Moon bear

Aroon and Mika not only enjoy the taste of their frozen fish blood, but also rolling in it!

Pong likes to take her bloodcicles straight over to the water where she, Bob and the pups have fun playing with it until it all melts.

Smooth coated otter at Wingham WIldlife Park, Kent

Our cockatoos love a frozen grape…

Rosie, the Umbrella cockatoo enjoying a frozen grape

Or two…

citron crested cockatooMaximus and Achilles the Visayan warty pigs won’t say no to an ice pole. Last week keepers made them for the boys using some delicious fresh apple juice.

Visayan Warty Pig at Wingham Wildlife Park, KentWhich was also a big hit with Paul the porcupine!

Porcupine at Wingham Wildife Park, Kent

Ice poles and frozen foods are a great (and tasty) way to help our animals stay cool so combining the two and putting fruit and veg into their ice poles can also be a popular treat for a variety of species here at WWP during the summer.

Reggie with his carrot ice pole

Playing with water

Our parrots, tortoises, otters, warty pigs, emus and chimpanzees all enjoy being sprayed with a hose! Not only is it refreshing but can create large puddles for them to soak, wallow and splash around in after!

Emus wallowing at Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent

Our smooth coated otters can never have too much water! Even when they are already in the pool they love having more water poured on them from a watering can, rolling in it and trying to catch the drops in their mouth.

Summer is a lot of fun at WWP and this is just a little introduction to how we keep a few of our animals comfortable on hot days!

Come and see for yourself soon and if you would like to help our animals stay cool, our chimpanzees would be very grateful for herbal tea bags (they love herbal tea ice poles) and hard sand pit paddling pools are great for a variety of animals if you have one you no longer need.

Thank you!

About Leanne - Education Officer