Ellen Trout Zoo shares plan to keep its animals warm during freeze

Ellen Trout Zoo prepares for cold front
Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 5:25 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 20, 2022 at 6:56 PM CST
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - East Texans are gearing up and preparing for the bitterly cold weather that is to come later in the week. But, what are zoos doing to keep all their animals warm during this cold front?

The Ellen Trout Zoo has many different birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians on display for zoo visitors to learn from and enjoy. As dangerously cold weather is fast approaching the area, the zoo is preparing to protect its animals.

Celia Falzone, curator for the zoo, said they always provide extra heat lamps, wind breaks and heat pads for a typical winter season.

“We’re about to get weather that is less typical for East Texas, especially this part of East Texas, but we’ve had it before, and we’ll have it again, so we have things in place for that, and we just do a bit more,” Falzone said.

Falzone said they create wind breaks for the animals’ cages.

“We can wrap some of these enclosures with plastic. That creates those wind breaks for the animals, and a lot of times, as I’m sure everybody knows, it can be a whole lot warmer as long as the wind is not blowing,” Falzone said.

They also fix temporary, indoor enclosures for some of the animals.

“If a bird is going to go someplace indoors, when it’s normally out, it’s getting it perched for that bird, providing the animal what it’s going to need to live in that enclosure for a few days,” Falzone said.

Falzone said some of the bigger animals already have heated barns they return to at night. She said the zoo doesn’t have a timeline on when the animals will return to their regular enclosures.

“We are preparing for the worst forecast that we see, so when animals will go back out that are brought in will just depend on how the weather actually does. As we all know, it often does unexpected things,” Falzone said.

Falzone said the moving process started today, and they will continue working before the cold front comes.