IF YOU go down to the Zoo today you are sure of a big surprise…
For the animals at Belfast Zoological gardens have been cooling down and chilling out in the summer heat with their own version of ice lollies.
No, not the ones sold by Mr Whippy in the car park high above north Belfast and Glengormley.
Chimpanzees, ring-tailed lemurs and sea lions have spent the last few days sun-bathing with their favourite frozen fruits.
Belfast Zoo said visitor numbers have more than doubled by 52 per cent compared to July last because of the heat wave.
Zoo keepers have been applying factor 50 sun cream to the elephants and pigs to prevent their skin from burning.
Zoo manager, Mark Challis, said the lollies act as a form of enrichment as well as keeping the animals hydrated.
“The apes are especially interesting to watch as they use their hands, feet and tools such as branches to break the ice to get to the fruit,” said Mr Challis.
“Visitors can make the most of the good weather and enjoy our daily schedule of animal feeding times during their visit.”
Zoo keeper Allan Galway said: “We make sure the animals have blankets so they can cover themselves in the shade.
“We would freeze blood for the big cats and we call them blood-cicles.
“Some species aren’t used to the heat like the penguins. The pigs also need sun cream.”