Roman Zoo Keeps Animals Cool with Ice Pops

By Mike Pomranz |

© TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images

Being plucked out of its natural habitat just to parade around for a bunch of cappuccino-sipping Italian gawkers isn’t necessarily a gig befitting the majestic Benghal tiger – or any animal for that matter. But there is at least one benefit to being cooped up at the zoo in Rome: free ice pops!

Yesterday, the Associated Press released video footage showing how caretakers at Rome’s Bioparc zoo help the animals they oversee cope with the Italian summer heat – which has recently been over the 100 degree mark. It’s a trick schoolchildren are pretty familiar with, though with a bit of wild twist: The animals are offered “ice pops” tailor-made for each species.

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Macaques grub on cold melons while lemurs live an even more upmarket lifestyle licking blocks of frozen yogurt peppered with chunks of fruit. Tigers, on the other hand, are served giant blocks of ice hanging from a chain with huge hunks of meat frozen into them. Consider it the closest these big cats will ever come to rummaging through a grocery store frozen food section… unless they escape.

According to one zoo official, not only do the ice treats keep the animals cool, they also keep the animals engaged with something new in their typically static surroundings. It’s like, "Hey, this will tide me over until I learn how to work that damn gate latch."

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