One of the questions we get most often when cold and snowy winter weather rears its head-which also happens to be the same question we get when extremely hot weather comes to Knoxville, ironically-is “What do you do with the animals? How do they manage in this weather?” First of all, we find it extremely touching that everyone is concerned about our animal friends and their well-being is on your mind, and we are happy to report that our charges do very well throughout the winter here in East Tennessee.
We’re fortunate to enjoy fairly mild winters here in East Tennessee for the most part, and the majority of our animals actually seem to enjoy time outside on sunny days when the temperature is in the 40’s. (And we will always give them access to shelter and/or their indoor areas on days when the weather is a bit more iffy and let them make the choice where they want to be.) However, the weather forecast is calling for a little something out of the norm for us tomorrow-freezing rain-which can mean problems getting our staff here as well as having to make the assessment if its safe for the animals to venture outdoors. So what happens at Knoxville Zoo in that case? Don’t worry, we’ve got a plan!
In the event we’ve got treacherous driving conditions, we have an emergency transportation system to get essential personnel here with 4×4 vehicles, and we also may make the decision to have staff spend the night on grounds. But rest assured our priority is to make sure the animals are all properly cared for and that they have warm indoor quarters to spend the day if it’s too cold or icy for them to go outside safely.
Now, the downside? Having to break the news that there will be no playing outdoors if it’s too icy. Can’t take the risk someone might slip and hurt themselves out in their habitat, you know, or if it’s too cold to enjoy the outdoor habitat safely. But the good news is that there will be activities to keep everyone busy indoors, and it looks like the weather improves on Saturday. But our readers may find it interesting to know that quite a few of our animals get cabin fever like we do! 🙂