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(Phoenix Zoo Photo)
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Phoenix Zoo’s animals not sweating extreme desert heat

(Phoenix Zoo Photo)

PHOENIX — Humans may be a little worse for wear after this week’s heat wave in the Valley, but for animals at the Phoenix zoo, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

“We really specialize, here at the Phoenix Zoo, in animals that can tolerate the heat,” spokeswoman Linda Hardwick said.

Hardwick said many of the animals – such as the African oryx – come from hot, dry climates such as the Arabian peninsula. The zoo also has its Arizona Trail that exhibits wildlife native to the state — think the mountain lion (or cougar) and javelina.

“All of these animals … [high heat] is nothing new to them,” Hardwick said.

Even though the animals can likely handle highs near 120 degrees, Hardwick said zookeepers monitor them closely just in case.

“Our keepers definitely keep an eye on them when it does reach extreme temperatures,” she said.

The zoo’s animals have many ways to keep cool, including icicles, meatsicles — icicles made of meat for predators — and pools of water to swim or splash in. Some animals, such as the rhinoceros, even have mud pools to cool off.

Some monkeys even have special misting systems in their exhibits.

For those who are willing to bear the heat, the zoo said it was offering discounted tickets through the end of August while it works to complete several construction projects.

The National Weather Service has extended an excessive heat warning through Sunday night for the metro Phoenix area. Daytime highs could reach 121 degrees.

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