BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – Humans are not the only ones who need to brace for colder temperatures. The Baton Rouge Zoo is preparing to keep its critters warm during the freeze that’s expected to occur overnight.

Baton Rouge Zoo Director Jim Fleshman said, “Well, when everybody else gets to go home for the holidays, zoo staff is in every day.”

Fleshman explained that getting the zoo ready for the freezing temperatures is similar to how people prep their homes.

“A lot of those preparations are making sure we have heat lamps, making sure the outdoor heaters are working, make sure indoor heaters are working,” Fleshman said. “Some of the exhibits, we actually wrap them in tarps in order to protect them from a north wind or a northeast wind, northwest wind depending on where we think the storm is coming from.”

While traveling across the zoo in a golf cart, Fleshman spoke with BRProud and described additional aspects of the zoo’s preparations. He explained that the birds, fish and tropical creatures are some of the animals that workers must keep a close eye on.

But many others come from diverse climates, meaning they are naturally prepared for the cold.

“It does snow in Kilimanjaro, there is ice in the Serengeti at different times of the year, and it happens depending on your elevation. So, we pretty much try to make sure we can handle those, and we don’t have super-sensitive species,” said Fleshman.

In addition to the numerous safety measures that have been implemented for the sake of the freeze, Fleshman said his staff is expecting to work around the clock. The Zoo workers are ever ready to keep a watchful eye on their nearly 500 animals during the severe weather.

“They actually come in and check the animals, double check their heaters, make sure all the animals are toasty and warm,” said Fleshman.

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