About the Author

Chris Taylor

Ranger

Chris was born and raised in the Kwa-Zulu/Natal Midlands where his family inspired his early passion for the natural world. Exploring Southern Africa as he grew up, this passion was allowed to develop and his curiosity to expand. After high school, Chris spent ...

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8 Comments

on How Do Animals Handle the Heat?

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Victoria Auchincloss
Senior Digital Ranger

The animals are fortunate to have built in cooling assistance. We could learn a lot from their schedule. When we lived in France we had no air conditioning and no ceiling fans as our farm house ceilings were too low and Phil’s head was in danger. What we had was heavy shutters that could be 3/4 to 7/8 closed and the window inside left open to allow any air in. We changed the shutter arrangement during the day depending on the sun. We did learn to hibernate during the long afternoons. As Anericans we are far too dependent on air conditioning. Most buildings are kept too cold and so when you exit you think you are cooking. We should learn a bit more from Mother Nature. Victoria

Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Interesting blog Chris. The ground squirrels in the Kalahari lift their tails over their heads and use it like an umbrella. My cat lie spread out on the tile floor to keep cool.

Joan Schmiidt
Digital Tracker

Chris, I did not know that the ostrich has bare space under the wings

Joanne Wadsworth Kelley
Master Tracker

Fascinating how animals are able to cool themselves in various ways. I was totally surprised to learn about the Ostriches underwing method, with no feathers and only skin. Now that Londolozi has 3 baby ostriches and temperatures are rising, I wonder how they manage. I’ve only seen images of the parents standing by but not shading. Thanks Chris for your interesting blog entry.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Indeed, the cooling waters of the plunge pool is a guest’s best friend after an early morning game drive whether it be November or February. I often wonder why the big cats don’t take advantage of the little pools around them to cool off, like the tigers or jaguars. Thanks for providing us with a bit more educational information from the bush.

Bob and Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

Ah Sundowners … not just a frivolous excuse for watching the fabulous African sunsets but a necessary hydration stop to keep we guests from collapsing from the heat of the day!

Declan Porter
Explorer

The way animals have adapted to the environments in which they find themselves is fascinating. Each animal will have its own mechanism/s in order to keep cool. Interestingly, around three quarters of heat loss for an elephant is through its ears because of the extensive vascular system. Giraffes also have very interesting ways to keep cool and are very well adapted for heat loss. Their coat pattern is thought to have some thermoregulation function. Giraffe can also increase their body temperature temporarily in very hot temperatures and this helps them to conserve water.
Some antelope can also use an adaption called selective brain cooling where the brain temperature is kept a few degrees cooler than the rest of the body.

Linda Rawles
Digital Ranger

Very interesting. I agree with Marinda – learn from animals and the cultures that do not depend so much on artificial air and heat. Better for us and the planet.

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