Beardsley Zoo prepares for winter weather

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — The Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport is making sure its animals are warm and comfortable in the snowy and cold weather.

Though you may think this weather is too cold, the tigers love it. They also like when the winter gets a bit wilder. They’ll be able to stay outside during Thursday’s expected snowstorm.

Beardsley Zoo Director Gregg Dancho says the animals that stay outdoors just need a little extra care.

“The diets are increased a little bit because their metabolism has to keep their body warm,” he said. “We add more food to their diet.”

The tigers aren’t the only animals that will stay outside. Leopards will also stay outdoors. Staff will give them more straw to lie on. Some animals will also have shelters outside that they can go in. Some are heated, others are not.

“We have a box for our otters if they don’t want to go in the back and want to stay out,” said Dancho. “We’ll give them an area where they can stay out and still have a nest box outside.”

Despite the cold the turtles are still outside, but their water is heated.

“We make sure they get a lot of fresh water,” said Dancho. “A lot of people don’t realize when it’s this cold it’s actually very dry.”

If the water outside doesn’t all freeze the ducks will stay outside; otherwise, they’ll be moved indoors. Dancho says it isn’t just the animals that he looks out for when winter weather hits.

“The thing to do here is make sure our staff stays protected,” he said. “The animals have their natural instincts and they know.”

Some of the animals, like the alligators, have to go inside if it gets too cold.

Dancho says as of early Wednesday afternoon they had not officially decided to close the zoo on Thursday because of the storm, though they’re expecting it will be closed. Either way, staff will be there to take care of the animals.

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