How Are Elephants Keeping Cool During the Heat Wave?

Zookeepers are constantly hosing down elephants or offering ice treats.

How does an elephant keep cool during a heat wave?

Zookeepers at the Phoenix Zoo have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.

Temperatures hit 115 degrees Tuesday, making it the hottest day in the city so far, and zookeepers kept themselves busy by offering elephants ice treats and spraying them down with water.

"Elephants are pretty intelligent animals so as long as we provide them with the tools that they need to keep themselves cool they'll do it on their own," said Corey Barr, an elephant keeper. “Things like water, mud that they can splash on themselves and create a sunscreen for themselves. We also give them ice treats if they want to eat them or sometimes they'll put them in the water to make the water more cold."

As for the other animals, many enclosures have pools for them to take a dip and cool off.

“Every animal has a temperature requirement, so once it gets to a certain temperature we give them access to their night houses which are air cooled, so they have a choice of being outside or inside,” carnivore collection manager Angela Comedy said.

For guests who wonder why certain breeds don’t make an appearance at the Phoenix Zoo, Comedy explained that the temperature in Phoenix plays a big role into what animals they house and which they pass along to other zoos.

"Here in Arizona, at the Phoenix zoo, we consider that whenever we bring an animal in is their temperature requirements in the wild, what they can deal with,” Comedy explained. “Some animals we just won't have here at the Phoenix Zoo because it's too hot for them and we can't keep them as cool as they should be."