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Lowry Park Zoo helping animals adapt to cold temperatures

Posted at 4:37 PM, Jan 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-02 16:37:45-05

TAMPA — Lowry's Park Zoo is still open during the cold snap, but a few animals might be off display for a brief period when the temperatures drop too much. 

The tortoises, for example, were hidden away in their tunnels during Tuesday's cold temperatures. A sign outside the exhibit said "Tortoises off display due to COLD".

The calf is being sheltered from the cold temperatures with it's mother, where it can cuddle up to stay warm.

Another popular exhibit, the new baby hippopotamus, is hidden away during the cold. 

The hippo, born just before Christmas, still doesn't have a name so the zoo asking for people to submit ideas. 

They posted on their Facebook page:

Tampa Zoo friends, from today until Jan.7, you can submit a name at the Hyde Park Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops store located at 702 S Village Cir, Tampa, FL 33606.

A name will be randomly selected. We encourage you to keep it “G-rated” and family friendly, bonus points for holiday themed names!


Despite some animals hiding from the cold, others are loving it, like the penguins and the wolves. You could also see the giraffes, elephants, zebras and may other Florida wildlife animals adapting to the cold.

The zoo tells us they give the animals the option to go inside a heated den or to go outside and explore the change in weather. 

As for your animals, BluePearl Veterinary gave us some tips for your pets:

  • Beware  of cats in the car engine. When it’s cold in your garage or outside, cats love to curl up in a warm and cozy place,  including a car engine. This can cause a serious injury the next time you fire up the car. Use extra caution if your cat spends time in the garage, or if there are outdoor cats in your neighborhood.
  • Antifreeze is deadly to pets. If you’re putting antifreeze in your car, be aware that it is highly toxic for pets or for that matter, young children. It tends to taste sweet, which makes it all the more dangerous. Keep antifreeze out of reach and wipe up any spillage carefully.
  • Don’t leave your pets out overnight. Dogs and cats do get cold, and they can even suffer from hypothermia. Chances are, your pets have lighter coats than those who live up north, because of the warm temperatures here. For that reason, it's best to be on the safe side, even though temperatures in the Tampa Bay area are not nearly as cold as states to the north. Don’t leave your pets outside all night, or for several hours at a time, if you can avoid it. Be especially cautious with breeds that have light coats and minimal body fat, such as  greyhounds or whippets.

Take special care with exotic pets who might not be equipped for the cold. If you normally keep a bird cage on your lanai, bring it inside -- 40-degree temperatures can be dangerous for tropical birds. If you have reptiles such as iguanas or tortoises, remember they are cold-blooded and need some source of warmth.