We all love summer in the Pacific Northwest, but there’s no doubt that some days get pretty hot. Humans are pretty creative in finding ways to beat the heat – splashing, shade, cool clothes – and our Northwest Trek animals do it too!
Our grizzly “cubs” Huckleberry and Hawthorne just love the pool in their huge forested habitat.
They plunge, paddle, splash and dive, playing underneath the waterfall and generally having a lot of fun!
When the cubs were small, our maintenance staff put a false bottom in the pool to keep it safely shallow while they learned to swim. Last winter we took it out, and the bears are relishing the extra depth.
They also love salmon-flavored ice treats made by keepers, and a weeble toy filled with ice is much appreciated!
In the wild, of course, grizzly bears spend many hours in streams hunting for their favorite food: salmon.
If you want to see joy in motion, come watch our otters!
Equally at home in water or on land, they twist and turn through their emerald pool, following bubble trails with lithe bodies and gleefully playing with enrichment items from keepers: balls, a raft, ice blocks, even pumpkins!
River otters are members of the weasel family, uniquely adapted for water living. They have streamlined bodies, short legs with webbed hind feet and a smaller skull, and live in fresh and salt water throughout North America.
Gray wolves may thrive in cold regions like Alaska, Canada and northern Asia, but they can live in a variety of habitats from tundra to woodlands, forests, grasslands and deserts.
But they do have thick fur, so our gray wolves really appreciate it when keepers fill up a big tub full of cold water on a hot day for them to splash in!
Like other canine species, they pant to regulate their body temperature, and seek shade when they need to.
Another member of the weasel family, wolverines are built for winter. With thick fur, strong legs and long claws, they can easily run, dig and hunt through snow.
So what happens on a hot day?
“They absolutely love rolling around in a tub of ice,” says keeper Wendi Mello. “It’s so cool to watch, they’re really goofy.”
When that’s not available, they’ll settle for a big block of ice instead.
Hot day out in the Free-Roaming Area? You’ll probably spot our elk herd by the lake – and maybe even in it. Elk are excellent swimmers; hollow hair and rich fat help them stay buoyant and insulate from cold water. They regularly cross rivers on their migration routes, so hanging out in the lake is just natural for them.
It’s also a good way to just cool off, and help keep bugs away.
Spot them on our Wild Drive tours!