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How Desert Museum animals keep cool during intense heat

Posted at 8:28 PM, Jun 05, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The staff at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum are able to help keep their animals cool, even when the temperature soars well above 100 degrees.

They use everything from misters, big chunks of ice, frozen food and water bowls, fans and swamp coolers.

The animals also always have the choice to go back to indoor spaces. And to their benefit, the animals are generally adapted to the desert weather.

“They are adapted to this area,” said Shawnee, a mammalogy and ornithology curator at the museum. “A lot of ‘em have been born here. It’s a little bit easier than trying to keep a polar bear cool. They’re used to this weather.”

The staff also takes frequent breaks inside. And they hope guests coming to the museum in the summer know how to handle the heat.

“Every restroom, we have sunscreen,” said Shawnee. “Taking care of your skin. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.”

“When we’re here, visiting the amazing animals we stay cool by having big floppy hats,” said mother and daughter Kelly and Olive Caruso. “Keep shade on our faces so we don’t get sunburnt. Lots of sunscreen. And we wet the hats also.”

The Desert Museum is open every day of the year.