Animal Diaries Archive
Keepers Dont Hibernate, Like Reptiles Do!
1 April 2005Because reptiles are ectothermic (cold-blooded) they get all their heat from an external source (usually the sun). Mammals like us have to eat a whole pile of food and burn great amounts of energy to stay at 37 degrees celsius. It seems to me those reptiles have it the easy way – however when the weather starts cooling down so do our reptiles. This means they won't eat as much or be as active.
Because of this, other departments think that the reptile keepers come to work and sleep under a tree during winter, as there isn't as much work to do. Let me tell you this is not true! Maybe there is not much cleaning or feeding to do, but instead we spend all day checking on the heat of enclosures and making sure the animals are comfortable. This is crucial because without the correct heat our animals could actually perish, and in reality I think winter is probably more stressful for the keepers. The winter months do give us a chance to do some construction of enclosures and odd jobs around the place though, so it is nice to catch up on things.