Winter is almost here (two days, folks!) and your toes are cold. What about the critters? An article in today's Washington Post explains about how zoo animals deal with cold temperatures. Most beasts adopt the same measures in captivity that they do in the wild: Some grow thicker and longer coats — or like deer, grow a different color coat that does a better job of retaining body heat. And it's easy to tell when the pandas are ready for winter: Their shit changes color. Cute (and unrelated) panda video from Japan above, and more Post stuff about panda poop after the jump.
How do zookeepers know that the giant pandas are getting ready for winter? Their poop turns yellow! In the summer it's green, thanks to a diet of bamboo leaves and bark. But in the winter the pandas munch the inside of the grassy treat. That part, called culm, is loaded with carbohydrates and gives Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and Tai Shan extra energy to help them keep warm.
Meanwhile, elephants like to play in the snow, according to one of the directors at DC's National Zoo: "[They] will make snowballs; they'll go down on their sides and rub their heads in it." Funny! (You know what else is hilarious? Imagining a dog as a temp.)