AUSTIN (KXAN) - We're still two days away from the start of the summer season, but temperatures in the Austin area is starting to reach the upper 90s.
Direct sun exposure can be dangerous to anyone, even animals.
That's why the Austin Zoo changes its routine this time of year, making sure every animal stays cool and healthy.
Staff members are keeping a close eye on all the animals, making sure none of them fall victim to heat exhaustion.
Pattie Clark has worked at the Austin Zoo for five years, so she knows how the heat affects the animals. While heat is a concern, Clark said they take preventative steps every day.
"Take these cases of water bottles," said Clark. "We just started freezing these and will give them to the primates, smaller animals and some birds."
Zookeepers will take the frozen bottle of water and place them into the animals' beds to keep them cool while they sleep as well.
Fans also play a vital role in keeping the animals cool. Zookeeper Sara King said keeping the air circulated is important.
"Once it starts getting in the midafternoon -- around 1 p.m. -- is when the heat settles in, " King said.
The Austin Zoo is a sanctuary for more than 30 felines, including lions, leopards and tigers.
A dip in the pool is how many of the large cats cool off during the midday heat.
When it's time for a snack at the zoo, what better to cool off with than with a frozen popsicle? Some of the frozen treats even have grapes in them.
Austin Zoo said the best time to visit the animals during the summer is early morning, before the heat sets in.
The Austin Zoo is open Monday through Friday.
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