Ice lolly cool down!

We’ve all been there – the sun’s shining and it’s boiling hot outside so you reach for that tasty ice lolly to cool you down only to get brain freeze with the first bite!!

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Mandy, DZG’s 39 year-old chimpanzee experienced just that when she took her first taste of a homemade fruit juice lollipop yesterday afternoon as the gauge hit temperatures in excess of 32 degrees Celsius across the zoo site.

Section Leader Nicola Wright, said: “We make up the ice lollies in large plastic containers using fruit, squash and sometimes even pureed nettles for our seven girls.

“They have to be bigger and sturdier than your everyday lolly so they last a big longer in the hands of a chimpanzee and we have to make sure they each have their own, as they’re not good at sharing.

“But we did feel for Mandy, as she bit into hers straight away and then clutched her forehead. 

“As chimpanzees share 98 per cent of DNA with humans, we guessed she must have been experiencing that piercing ice-cream headache. It only lasted a few seconds and the lolly didn’t last long after that as she quickly got back to work licking it gone.”

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Lollipops are just one method our keepers use to keep our 1,500 strong animal collection cool when the mercury rises.

Icy cold water from the zoo’s own well is used to continually top up water bowls throughout the day, while certain species, such as the Brazilian tapirs, pygmy goats and reindeer, who are currently undergoing their annual moult, are slathered with high factor sun cream to protect them from the sun’s rays.

Other animals enjoy their pools – with the likes of our Sumatran tigers and capybara regularly seen taking a dip when the sun’s out

Hear Curator Richard Brown on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire 94.8FM, 103.7FM or 104FM and online at 9.15am this morning, talking about the measures we put in place for our animals when the warm weather arrives!