New Zealand parrots, baby elephants, or wolves – not only these animals can still be observed in the outdoor enclosures of the Prague Zoo. Many of them are not affected by wintering and can be seen outside even during the winter months.
Although many might think that parrots only search for higher current ones, there is also a parrot in the outdoor exposition of Rákos’ pavilion that does not mind the cold.
“Nestor kea inhabits the highlands of New Zealand and is even the only typical alpine species because it is located above 1,000 meters above sea level and has been recorded even at an altitude of 2,400 meters above sea level, which is 800 meters higher than the Sněžka peak.“Says bird curator Antonín Vaidl. “Our winters are quite mild for him and you can watch her outside all year round.”
Although the outside temperature is slightly below freezing, Indian elephants also go to the enclosure around noon.
The problem for these large mammals could be the slippery icy surface on the steep corridor leading from the stables to the paddocks. Therefore, a specially heated sidewalk emerges from the pavilion, which will not allow snow to settle on it.
“Elephants don’t mind dry frost, we don’t let them out if it’s wet, windy or windy.” explains chief elephant breeder Martin Kristen. “Snow can be a pleasant diversion. The Lakuna and Amalee baby elephants like to throw and taste snow. Shanti’s elephant can even make snowballs with her trunk. “
The most hardy winter animal in the Prague Zoo is not yet a polar bear, but a Eurasian wolf. Although the wolves have a dry stable at their disposal, they also lie in the frost and snow in the paddock, where they dig dents only in the lee, in which they are laid to sleep.
“As with most mammals, wolf fur is made up of undercoat and sands, which are stiff and long on the shoulders. It creates a mantle over the bushy undercoat, on which the rain easily drains and the snow slides without melting, ” explains mammal curator Pavel Brandl. “His coat is perfectly adapted to all the vagaries of the weather.”
On the contrary, it may come as a surprise to some visitors that the Humboldt penguins do not enjoy staying in colder cases. It comes from South America, where the surrounding air can reach tropical temperatures and the water on the coast is cooled thanks to the Humboldt or Peruvian current.
“When it’s snowing, we have to sweep the path to the pool for the penguins in the outdoor enclosure.” explains the main breeder of Humboldt penguins Jakub Mezei. “Of course, the penguins have a slightly heated pavilion. But if it’s really freezing outside, we only let them out for a few hours a day. “
Cover photo: The elephants Lakuna and Amalee are enjoying their second winter at the Prague Zoo. In good weather, he goes to the paddock, even if it snows. Photo by Oliver Le Que, Prague Zoo
Photo 2: Eurasian wolves pay in winter for the most resilient inhabitants of the Prague Zoo. He actually spends twenty-four hours in the paddock at the top of the complex in freezing weather. Photo by Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo