MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – Preparations are underway to keep animals safe with extremely cold weather ahead. If you are a pet owner, you will want to make sure your pets are protected from the elements as well.
Sierra, a snow leopard at the Montgomery Zoo, is well equipped to handle extreme weather changes, including bitter cold.
“They love this weather. So our bison or elk, even our otters, love cold weather,” said Andi Clason, Animal Care Manager at the Montgomery Zoo.
But that’s not the case for all the animals at the Montgomery Zoo.
“So for some of our animals, like our African animals, or animals that like warmer or warmer weather like we’re used to experiencing here, what we’ll do is access their indoor areas that have warmth and clothing of extra bedding to keep them nice and warm. And each species has a different threshold,” Clason said.
Andi Clason, animal care manager at the Montgomery Zoo, says they design habitats for the animals that adapt to the changing climate.
“The flamingos actually have a special shelter that’s adapted so that we can add curtains and heat lamps to it in the winter and then open it up and take it all down in the summer,” Clason said.
“The heaters will run a few degrees higher than normal, just to make sure everyone is warm,” said Steven Tears, executive director of the Montgomery Humane Society.
There, animals waiting for their forever homes are kept inside. Tears reminds pet owners that now is the time to bring their animals inside.
“The old wives’ tales: they have a fur coat, they are fine. That is not the case. They need isolation. Again, the ideal is to bring them inside,” Tears said. “Put them in the laundry room in the garage, give them some shelter.”
He says if you can’t get them inside, cover your doghouses with blankets and make sure they’re well insulated.
“The last thing we want are calls from animals that have died from the weather,” Tears said. “And proceed with prosecutions of people just because they didn’t stop and think it’s time to bring them in.”
Parked cars attract cats and other small animals looking for a warm spot in the cold. They may crawl under the hood, so be sure to bang on the hood of your car before starting it to scare off any animals that may be taking refuge there.
The American Kennel Club says that dogs can also develop hypothermia.
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