Keeping Cool Cats Warm

Winter At Turpentine Creek

January 8, 2018

Winter brings cooler temperatures and shorter days for the residents at Turpentine Creek. Typically, the temperature in Eureka Springs averages in the mid 30’s in December and January, but since New Year’s Eve, we have been experiencing below average temperatures in the teens and single digits. Luckily, the temperature has finally begun to return to normal levels, but for a short time, the big cats at Turpentine Creek got a taste of what some of their cousins in the north experience every year.

Some people worry that the big cats might get too cold during these wintery blasts, but be reassured we do our best to prepare and provide our residents with warm areas to get out of the cold. We fill their dens with bedding that helps to keep the temperatures in the dens 20-30F degrees warmer than the outside area. Beyond what we do to keep our feline friends warm, nature has also provided many of our animals with warm, thick winter coats.

Some subspecies of tiger, such as the Amur (Siberian), are native to the northern reaches of Russia, which averages temperatures around -40F in the winter months. Because of this, they have adapted and evolved to withstand extreme winter weather by growing a dense winter coat. Even the most fridged winter weather in Arkansas doesn’t even come close to these extremes.

Wild animals are adapted to survive the cold and will naturally seek warmer shelter to escape the cold. This is why visitors will see our bobcats, cougars, and tigers during the winter but the bears, leopards, and lions are seen less frequently. The cold weather cats spend their days soaking in the sun and playing in the snow (when we have snow) while the warm weather animals tend to spend the winter cuddled in their warm dens.

Some of our animals are less adapted to cold weather, such as our lions, and for these animals, we provide them with warm spaces to escape the cold. We are working on getting electric run throughout the property so that we can eventually install heated dens wherever it is needed. We also keep a very close eye on our animals to make sure that they are not showing signs of adverse effects from the cold weather.

Your support and donations help us provide the best quality care for all the animals that call Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge home. You can help us provide food, warm spaces, enrichment, and much more by donating now.

We also want to remind everyone that we are open during the winter season and that you can visit any day of the year, except Christmas Day.