Lemurs break in at night to turn up zoo's heating
Lemurs at a Westcountry zoo have found a crafty way to stay warm – by reaching into a heater cage and turning up the thermostat themselves.
And the animals at Tropiquaria Zoo in Watchet, Somerset, have also discovered a way to climb into the cage so they can huddle round the heater.
The new group of ring-tailed lemurs – Devine, William, Katrina, Barry and Julien – only arrived a few weeks before Christmas, when the cold weather first struck.
Zoo director Chris Moiser said: "There was a little concern about the sudden start of the cold weather, because we didn't know how they would cope in their new home. We had the heater set at a temperature that we thought they would find comfortable.
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"Over Christmas, to facilitate staff holidays, I fed them myself for a couple of days and noticed on the first day that the heating had been turned up to maximum. I turned it down again and made a mental note to speak to the keepers.
"The following day it was up to maximum again and, after watching them discreetly for some time, we discovered that on the cooler nights they were reaching in to where the heater was contained and turning the thermostat to max. On the warmer nights they didn't do it. Over the last few days, as it has become really cold, they have now discovered how to break in to the heater cage and, as well as turning up the heat, they will drape themselves over it to rewarm after they have played out in the cold. The normal lemur behaviour in the cold is to huddle, but these do that and then take it in turns to have a heater huddle too.
"They really do take it in turns as well – we often see one draped over the heater."