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It's cold outside! How do animals survive?


Anyone who's walked their dog when temperatures are frigid knows that canines will shiver and favor a cold paw - But what about all the wildlife out there? Won't they be freezing?

Winter presents different threats than the summer when it comes to wildlife encounters.

Its cold outside! How do animals survive?

To help the animals stay warm, room heaters and heat convectors have been provided in night shelters and the windows have been covered with polythene sheets to retain the heat and the cold winds out. Temporary shelters made of kanna, wood and bamboo have been constructed and fitted with plastic sheets to make them waterproof for all the herbivore animals, at many Zoo's in India.

To ensure that they stay cozy, paddy straw and wheat husk bedding has been put in their enclosures.

The bird cages have also been equipped with straw and husk to provide warm nesting. The cages have also been covered with fiber cloths, jute mats and polythene sheets.


For the snakes, oil filled heaters have been added along with leaf litters and blankets. To prevent the snakes from coiling around the heater, which runs the risk of them being electrocuted, the heaters have been covered with a cylindrical grill.

Diet for Big cats

While in summers, intake of food is reduced, especially for carnivores, who are not given food at least once a week, it has been increased since the mercury plummeted. Carnivorous animals including the big cats like tigers, lions and leopards are being fed extra meat these days.

For instance, the white tiger who consumes around 8 to 10 kilograms of meat per day in summer, is now eating at least 12 kg.


The elephants are munching on sugarcane, jaggery and peepal leaves, all of which help keep the body warm.

Monkeys, lion tailed macaque and gibbons are eating more chickpeas, milk, fruits and nut to satiate their increased hunger in winter season. Salt licks have also made way in their cages as it helps them digest food.

How do they adapt in the wild?

Hibernate: Animals hide away in a den or burrow, surviving on fat reserves they have put on over summer. Their body temperature and heart rate slow right down. This helps them to save their energy.

Migrate : Would you like to go somewhere hot for the winter? That's what migrating animals do. When the weather starts to get cold migrating animals fly or swim to a warmer place where they can find food.

Adapt: They grow extra fur or fat to keep them warm. Some animals change colour to camouflage themselves against the snow.

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