GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD/NBC News) - John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, Michigan is closed until March, but things are still busy as workers try to keep animals safe in subfreezing conditions.
Staff members are breaking up icy waters where a pair of otters love to play. Zookeepers say removing ice and snow is a big part of the job because if it piles too high, the animals could escape.
Most of them, including the otters and a mountain lion, have indoor-outdoor winter habitats at the zoo. Each animal can decide for itself when, or if, it wants to brave the cold, but some of the animals in the Africa exhibit were moved to warmer, indoor facilities.
Though some zoo animals can survive the bitter cold, experts recommend bringing household pets indoors.