APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (FOX 9) - It’s so cold at the Minnesota Zoo, the zoo closed all its outdoor trails. But some animals are still braving the elements and are quite at home in the cold.
Sometimes surviving winter in Minnesota can feel like grabbing a tiger by the tail, but the Siberian tiger at the zoo is practically purring about the latest round of frigid temperatures.
"A lot of these species, this is no big deal to them,” said Tony Fisher, the Minnesota Zoo animal collection manager. “This is just what they've adapted to survive in."
Zoo officials say many animals like Siberian tigers, takins and bison stay outside year round even during extreme cold weather. In fact, they say it’s actually colder where many of the animals are from in Russia, Mongolia and China than it is in Minnesota.
"Once they are out and acclimated to the cold,” said Fisher. “They do fine staying in the cold until spring as long as you give them wind protection, they are fine."
Other animals have the choice stay in an outdoor habitat or to go inside to a holding area, where it is about 40 or 50 degrees.
"We give them a holding area where they can get in out of the cold, but you'd be surprised a lot of the cold days they choose to come outside because they want to be outside,” said Fisher. “But on a day like today, I suspect they are going to want to be in most of the time."
Even the penguins at the zoo chill indoors. The blackfoot penguins are from southern tip of Africa where the average temperature is 50 to 60 degrees, not Antarctica where their cousins are used to the deep freeze.
"We customize every species to what they need,” said Fisher. “We'll warm it up to the point of what they need and are able to adapt to. It’s different for every species throughout the world."
The zoo decides whether its outdoor trails will be closed on a day-to-day basis, but even if they are closed, the indoor building and the exhibits will be open.