It is a sign of winter- Joburg Zoo

 In preparation for winter, we fuel our gas heaters and adjust home temperatures. Insects gather food as they prepare to hibernate. Reptiles and zoo crocodiles are no different. At high temperatures the crocodile digestive system is fast, but in winter their metabolism is slow. Therefore they do not eat. They become inactive and do not regulate their body temperature.


Recently our team of veterinarians and animal staff captured and relocated 21 Nile crocodiles from the Zoo Crocodile Country to the Hot House, where temperatures are kept higher with heaters and infrared lights. This is done at the beginning of every winter so crocodiles will survive the cold weather. They remain indoors until Spring. The task took a good 5 hours. “It was a challenge to capture the crocodiles as they have grown in body weight by at least 20kg each. Secondly, the enclosure was slippery as we had to drain water leaving mud only. We had to look out for other crocodiles to protect ourselves. Our mission was accomplished as all crocodiles were moved and no one was injured, but all of us were covered in mud.” said Zoo General Manager: Scientific Services, Dr Katja Koeppel.


“The crocodiles were captured because they won’t go into the Hot House on their own. They are trained to feed inside the Hot House in summer, but the strategy does not work in winter because they do not eat. So the best alternative is to capture them.” said Zoo Reptile Keeper Timothy Netsianda

As for the rest of the animals, we have stocked up on flu and cold medicines, and we monitor temperatures closely so that we can keep some residents indoors if the temperature drops below zero degrees, but most of our animals tolerate cold weather.





















Close Window << Back to Archived Press Releases