For zoo animals, a blanket of fluffy snow on the ground creates the perfect stage for somersaults, scampering and snowflake-covered fur.
Cities on the United States’ East Coast were slammed by winter storms this week with snowfall totals between 6 to 12 inches in some areas, per Aamer Madhani and Parker Purifoy for the Associated Press. Schools and businesses announced delays and closures, while nearly 500,000 homes faced power outages due to gusty winds, Jason Samenow reports for the Washington Post.Although the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. was officially closed on Monday and Tuesday, its critters welcomed the new year with several snow days all to themselves. Giant pandas, bison, elephants, sloth bears, cheetahs and more have been enjoying visitor-free time outside in the fresh powder.
❄️?? Everyone is getting into the #SnowDay spirit! In D.C., sloth bears Niko and Deemak had a wintry wrestle while American Bison Lucy and Gally and Asian elephant Swarna grazed peacefully. ? In Front Royal, VA, cheetah mom Rosalie and her cubs awoke to a snowy surprise! pic.twitter.com/A0l2VFssy8— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) January 3, 2022
Sloth bears Niko and Deemak playfully duked it out in the fluffy stuff. The Zoo’s bison stayed warm with their thick fuzzy fur while chewing on hay, and elephants took a few steps out into the frozen world as well.
At the Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, a cheetah and her cubs watched the flakes fall to the ground while they groomed frosty bits of ice off of each other.
Though kangaroos and wallabies prefer subtropical climates in the wild, the Bennett’s wallaby at the National Zoo is sure looking cute with snowflake-dappled eyelashes and fur.
With his mama Mei Xiang seen behind him in video footage, he’s much more excited about the snowfall this year. The 16-month-old panda cub tumbled boldly into the bushes and slid headfirst on his belly down a small hill in his enclosure. Later, the two can be seen tussling in the trees.Though snowfall has paused for now, strong winds continue to damage trees and power lines while low temperatures overnight caused slushy areas to refreeze, per the Post. Another storm is expected to reach the nation’s capitol again on Thursday.