ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) - It's winter! There's snow in the wind and a chill in the air.
And the usual suspects are out at the Zoo. The Polar Bears are dining in the cold and out for a stroll.
"They've got the big fur coat, which is a great insulator, they've got a layer of fat," explained Bob Lessnau, mammal curator.
They've also got company.
"I am surprised but I'm also happy because I didn't think there would be very many animals out because it's cold," said zoo-goer Deanna Delicato
They zoo's newest resident, male lion Simba is on the prowl. The lions are warmed from below; help from heated rocks.
"Those cats know exactly when they come outside, if they want to go and get a quick warm up they can lay down on the rocks and get warmed up pretty quick," said Lessnau.
The wind chill is near zero but the snow monkeys are out; huddled in pairs against the cold.
Desert dwelling kangaroos and their cousins the wallabies don't mind the cold. These residents from down under are free to hop and go when they want, then duck inside for warmth.
The giraffe area is vacant. These giants are inside seeking shelter from the cold and safety from the ice.
"Obviously is an animal like that takes a spill they could break a leg and cause some serious internal injuries," said Lessnau.
The yards are inspected for safety before the animals are let outside.
When the zoo selects animals to host, they about the fit; which animals can survive Michigan weather? Also, many of the zoo's animals have been bred in captivity and are adapting to new climates.
"So they are already acclimated to their environment, so they're a little bit more tolerant than say their wild relatives would be," said Lessnau.
So, how cold-tolerant are you? Grab a coat and bundle up, the animals are waiting!
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