National Zoo Animals Stay Cool During Heat Wave, Look Adorable Doing So (PHOTOS)

07/19/2013 02:22 pm ET
Smithsonian National Zoo

It's hot enough outside as a human -- imagine if you were a three-ton elephant or a hairy Giant Panda!

Keepers at Smithsonian's National Zoo employ various tricks to keep their charges cool during summer's hottest days, including iced snacks and cooling baths. Of course, some "treats" may not sound so appetizing to humans: "bloodsicles," anyone?

Click through the slideshow to see how National Zoo animals stayed cool on hot days through the years. Story continues below.

National Zoo Animals Stay Cool

It's not just zoo animals that need to stay hydrated and in the shade during this week's heat wave. A Washington Human Society advisory urges the public to report animals spotted inside locked cars.

The alert includes signs that an animal has become overheated:

Signs of over-heating in animals include loud, rapid panting, rapid pulse, glazed eyes, excessive
salivation, elevated body temperature, excessive whining or agitation, staring, vomiting and white or
bluish gums. Pets can be cooled immediately by placing them in the shade and sponging them with cool
water, especially on the head, feet and groin area. If you believe your pet is suffering from heat
exhaustion, contact your veterinarian immediately -- it could save your pet's life.

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