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Exotic animals in the snow

Jaguars and leopards playing in the snow is an unusual sight at the Schönbrunn zoo at the moment given their normally warmer climate.

Zoo director Dagmar Schratter said: "Jaguars come from central and south America. Here at the zoo, they can always go out in the open air for a short while. They have a heated inside enclosure, where they can warm up after playing the snow."

Even the leopards are pampered in the winter with underfloor heating. The snow outside covers the leopards to their knees. Schratter said: "They clearly have a lot of fun in the snow, running after snowflakes." That's often a curious sight for visitors, as the leopards usually live in the scorching African Sahara – but temperatures at night can drop as low as zero degrees, even in south Africa."

The staff at the zoo have had plenty to do with the recent snowfalls and having to clear all the enclosures and paths. Schönbrunn is now the perfect spot for a winter excursion. Just like the animals, visitors can escape the cold – in the Rain Forest House, in the Bird House or in the Aquarium. There are also several food-outlets to gather up some energy in the the end of the winter stroll around the zoo.

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