Un’brr’lievably warm start to winter at Werribee Open Range Zoo

10 June 2022

Thermal imagery has revealed the clever ways that the animals at Werribee Open Range Zoo are keeping warm and cosy during Melbourne’s chilly start to winter.

Akin to hopping into bed with an electric blanket, the wildlife is snuggling into warming shelters and bedding, and under heat lamps that have been cleverly installed throughout Zoo habitats – all in view of rugged up visitors. 

Thermal imaging cameras detect temperature by identifying different levels of infrared light that are invisible to the naked eye. Colder temperatures are often given a shade of blue, purple or green, while warmer temperatures can be assigned a shade of red, orange or yellow.  

Among those detected engaging with their heated facilities are gorillas, cheetah, meerkats, tortoises and wallabies. 

Werribee Open Range Zoo African River Trail Keeper, Tamsyn Green, said the thermal images enable keepers to identify how the animals are interacting with their surrounding environment, including custom-designed heat sources. 

We’re always looking at ways to provide the the highest quality care to cater for each animals individual needs,” Ms Green said. 

Many of the animals at Werribee Open Range Zoo are exposed to both hot and cold conditions in the wild, so we like to create habitats that provide animals with choice and control in their environment when the temperature begins to drop during winter. 

Heat lamps are positioned over rocks and logs so animals can bask in their glow and warmth; heat pads have straw placed over them so they can snuggle into their bedding; and heated caves and shelters are also a hit during rainfall. Animals also have access to indoor facilities that are temperature controlled, too. 

Ms Green said winter is a fantastic time to visit Werribee Open Range Zoo, with plenty of animal activity to see.  

“Animals can be more active during winter than during the peak of summer because they will move around their exhibits more frequently to burn energy and maintain body heat,” Ms Green said. “Also, many of these heated facilities are positioned on display, providing visitors with ample opportunity to see the precious and threatened species that we care for.”