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Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Keeping a giraffe warm in winter
Gerald the Giraffe
Gerald has under-floor heating to keep him warm

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

Gerald the Giraffe, from Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, has heating a Premier League football team would be proud of.

That heating includes under-floor pipes to keep the temperature at around 19 degrees Celcius.

Zookeeper Chris Wilkinson said: "He's got some significant heating in his house to keep him warm."

He explained that the giraffe is built for another continent: "Gerald has always been a zoo giraffe so its nothing new to him but he's built for Africa, really, so has got quite thin skin.

"He stays in his house when it get very cold but he likes the sun so he comes and walks around his yard and has a look at what's going on."

Every time it falls I think he's forgotten that he's seen it before. He's always intrigued by the snow when it falls.
Chris Wilkinson, Zookeeper
But Gerald has an intricate system to ensure he doesn't get cold feet.

"The whole house he lives in has got hot water pipes under the ground to heat the floor so he's got under-floor heating as well as his own boiler and radiators system to keep the air warm as well.

"It needs to be 19 degrees as a minimum but it does drop below that when we the doors are open because they're so big, obviously, to fit a giraffe out of.

"When we close it, then it picks up, and by the morning it's well up there."

Chris added Gerald always has an odd reaction to snow: "He tends to stand in his doorway and put his legs apart, drop his neck down and have a good sniff of the snow.

"Every time it falls I think he's forgotten that he's seen it before. He's always intrigued by the snow when it falls.

"He's not so keen on the rain. He'll generally come out, and once he's been out he'll go back in and stay in. You'll quite often see him standing in the doorway to his house watching but standing in the dry."

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