For many animals at ZooMontana, snow means fun

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While the cold weather might make most of us want to spend the day indoors lounging under a blanket, many of the animals at ZooMontana in Billings love the snow and welcome the opportunity to have a little fun, said Jeff Ewelt, CEO of ZooMontana. Wednesday.

“Fortunately here at the zoo, we have many animals that love snow. Our wolves and red pandas, in particular, absolutely love it. We’ll see them stick in the snow a little bit. We’ll see them,” Ewelt said.

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MTN News / Mitch Lagey

This wolf at ZooMontana in Billings doesn’t mind a little snow in his enclosure.

Many of the animals in ZooMontana originate from areas of the same latitude as the Billings or further north, so they are accustomed to cold winters. Ewelt said grizzly bear Ozzy loves to play in the snow, and it’s really unique to see this behavior in a bear. Normally during this time of year, wild bears are hibernating, but bears at the zoo don’t hibernate because there is no shortage of food at all, Ewellt said.

But if an animal at the zoo wants to go inside to get out of the weather, that’s always an option for it, said Ewellt.

“If an animal chooses to stay outside cool, it can. But it doesn’t. That animal can stay indoors and stay warm if it wants to. But ironically, they rarely do. When they have access, most in many Sometimes, but not always, those animals will be outside enjoying the windy weather and snow.”

But there are some animals in the zoo that need some extra help to keep warm. Ewellt said the donkey, alpaca and goat pens at the zoo are equipped with heat lamps to keep things warm. They also get extra food and a bowl of hot water to avoid freezing.

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MTN News / Mitch Lagey

A goat in ZooMontana drinks from a hot water bowl.

Ewellt said many zoo animals don’t need a winter jacket.

“We have to remember that these animals are more well built than we are. Sometimes we tend to forget that. We think, ‘Oh, would this animal be okay.'” “Yes, it was made for it. Wolverine, in particular, was built for the worst possible conditions. So, something like a recent snowfall, nothing to them,” said Ewellt.

Related: Meet the Skinks ZooMontana (video)


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