HEAVY snow and freezing temperatures have forced exotic animals indoors this winter.
Animals at Chester Zoo are heading inside to escape the cold after temperatures plummeted below -10 this weekend.
Lions and tigers, more used to the heat of Africa and India, are being given extra blankets and kept inside to keep them warm.
The zoo’s 90 Caribbean Flamingos had to seek alternative accommodation when the canal in their enclosure froze over.
A spokesperson for Chester Zoo, said: “We keep a close eye on the weather during the winter, some of the animals will be inside and not outside because of the snow.
“The animals have special huts. If they want to go in they will get some extra blankets.
“Our main concern at the moment is the flamingos. They have had to go inside because the canal is frozen.”
Even with the enclosures covered in snow, and most of the 70,000 animals staying inside, people are still visiting the zoo despite the treacherous driving conditions.
Throughout the bad weather, staff have been braving the cold in order to grit icy footpaths to stop visitors slipping. Although the zoo will be closed on Christmas day and Boxing day to the public, the animals and staff celebrate Christmas in their own special way.
Staff work over the festive season to make sure that the animals are cared for, and kept warm.
And for Flora, the Komodo Dragon, Christmas came early this year.
The 11-year-old, took time opening her gift, which contained her favourite treats – beef and fish.
The webcam of the giraffe and flamingo enclosure, on the zoo website www. chesterzoo.org, shows a blanket of snow, but no animals, as they are safe inside in the warmth.