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Local Zoos Cautiously Shrug Off The Bitter Cold Temperatures

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BOSTON (CBS) – The bitter cold weather has zoos around New England taking precautions with a number of their animals.

While many animals like lions and tigers are able to adapt to cold weather, other warm-weather creatures like giraffes are brought inside on the coldest days.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

At places like the Franklin Park and Southwick Zoos, all of the animals have the option of hanging out in heated barns. The zoos also install heating coils and water circulators to keep ponds and water buckets from freezing.

As for the human visitors, Franklin Park touts the perfect place to warm up; a Tropical Forest that is kept at a balmy 72 degrees.

While Franklin Park Zoo stays open all year, Southwick Zoo in Mendon closes for the winter in October. But that doesn’t mean hibernation.

“People always ask me how our animals do in the winter and I always have to tell them I think they do much better than we do,” said Southwick’s Betsy Brewer.

Camels still frolic in the cold, tigers taking to the snow and a 30-person staff tends to more than 500 animals.

“The animals here at the Southwick’s Zoo in the cold New England weather do grow extra fur,” said Brewer. “(It’s) a better coat, a thicker coat of fur.”

Baby Giraffe Daisy, born just two weeks ago, has a special spot in one of Southwick’s 18 heated buildings. Brewer keeps most buildings between 60 and 65 degrees, except for the giraffe barn, “because we have little Daisy, its at 70 degrees, so it’s nice and toasty warm.”

According to Brewer, all animals have the option to go inside, but she said some prefer to frolic outdoors.

“The Bengal Tigers will roll around in the snow and the zoo keepers, they have great senses of humor,” chuckled Brewer. “Every now and then they will make them a snowman and the tigers will come out and attack the snowman.”

Southwick’s Zoo will reopen on April 12.

Watch WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens’ Instagram reports

WBZ-TV’s Whitney Burbank & WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens contributed to this report. Follow them on Twitter @Whit_Burbank & @CarlWBZ

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