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Page last updated at 09:41 GMT, Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Brazilian Tara braves the weather
Brazilian tapir Tara
Brazilian tapir Tara is due to give birth before Christmas

The weather has got much colder over the past few weeks around Bristol so we have been finding out how the animals at our zoos are coping.

Tara is a nine-year-old pregnant Brazilian tapir who is due to give birth before Christmas.

She lives at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm near Wraxall in North Somerset.

Zookeeper Chris Wilkinson says the zoo has radiators and infra-red heaters to keep the temperature near her preferred 20 degrees Celsius.

"They're Brazillian rainforest animals so they like it warm, they like it humid and that's obviously not quite what we've got here.

"They're happy around 20, and they'll just curl up on their beds and stretch out, just like they would in the summer."

The tapirs and giraffes both eat saved-up leaves which we put quite a lot of time and effort into collecting in the summer.
Zookeeper Chris Wilkinson
Chris says during the winter months in the UK, Tara eats more food which they have stored up in the summer for her.

"Most animals eat more in the winter because they're using more energy to keep themselves warm so we up their food.

"We barrel up leaves in the summer so that we can feed them in the winter. So we're opening our barrels of leaves now.

"The tapirs and giraffes both eat saved-up leaves which we put quite a lot of time and effort into collecting in the summer."

But how does Tara cope with extreme weather? Chris explains it's just another day for the Tapir.

"They sometimes break the ice as they go into the water for the toilet. They don't stay in there very long but they don't seem to mind!

"Generally they take the weather conditions in their stride, although you do notice when it's really bitterly cold they'll just spend a bit more time sleeping inside. That's their favourite pastime anyway so it's not unusual."

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm has installed a webcam where you can watch Tara - click here to find out more.


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