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5 April 2021, 07:03

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They spent the whole winter in refrigerated chambers. You can watch the animals wake up while watching a short video on

The jerboas in the Moscow Zoo were brought out of hibernation. For five months they were in a special refrigerator, where the temperature is maintained at two to four degrees above zero.

Wild relatives of these zoo dwellers hibernate at different times. It all depends on the air temperature outside and the availability of food. If food is plentiful, the jerboas continue to feed until it gets colder. If there is a shortage of food, they fall asleep so as not to use up the fat reserves accumulated over the summer. Typically, these animals hibernate when the temperature is around four degrees Celsius.

Three jerboas live in the capital’s zoo – two small earthen hares and one large one. In order to simulate the natural change of the season for them, in the fall, zoologists gradually lowered the temperature in the aviary, and also offered the animals high-calorie norms. The animals ate a cereal mixture with sunflower seeds and gained sufficient body weight for prolonged hibernation.

In December, they were sent to the cold rooms. The rodents were placed there in wooden boxes covered with foam rubber. While the jerboas slept, their body temperature dropped from 37 to about four degrees Celsius, and their heart rate dropped from 300 to five to six beats per minute.

“Throughout the winter, experts have tirelessly monitored the health and weight of the pets. When they lost about a quarter of their weight and their mass reached summer rates, the animals began to wake up. The zoologists carefully removed the boxes from the refrigerators and moved the jerboas to the enclosures with houses. There they will gradually warm up and will soon become more active, ”said Svetlana Akulova, General Director of the Moscow Zoo.

The diet of jerboas now includes light foods: apples, carrots and fresh herbs. The animals are temporarily not on display at the zoo – their aviary is being rebuilt to provide the animals with more comfortable conditions.

Marmots were the first to emerge from hibernation in the capital’s zoo. They slept longer than usual this year due to the cold and snowy winter. Male Archie is already emerging from the burrow to inspect his property and bask in the sun. In the street part of the aviary, you can see him in the morning and afternoon. The female Sarah also sometimes appears on the surface, but Nagini is still basking in a warm mink.

In addition, raccoons, bears and a raccoon dog woke up. In the near future, the Moscow Zoo is also expecting the awakening of chipmunks, white-breasted hedgehogs and dormouse.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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