How Cold Is It? Ask Polar Bears, Penguins or Siberian Huskies


How cold has been? You know it’s cold when even polar bears and penguins prefer indoors. And JoAnne Smithson’s Siberian Huskies apparently would rather go to relatively balmy Siberia.

Anana, the lone polar bear at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, has never grown the thick layer of fat that bears in their native Arctic develop to insulate themselves against winter temperatures that can range as low as -50 degrees. Of course, zoo bears don’t eat seal lions, seals or other animals insulated with blubber. No matter, typically zoo polar bears generally frolic in their pools throughout winter.

While Emperor or King penguin species could easily tolerate the Polar Vortex, the same is actually not true for most penguin species. At the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, penguins native to South Africa, known as the jackass penguin, were taken off exhibit as were bald eagles, as America’s symbol was shivering.

In DeKalb County, outside Chicago, JoAnne Smithson says, “Each winter my struggle is to coax my dogs back indoors – they love the snow, it’s summer days they detest – it’s too hot.” When real air temperatures dipped well below zero, Smithson says she saw her pack huddled in a corner at the door, howling to come inside.

And Jessica Abernathy of Professional Petsitters Inc./Kramers Pet Sitting and Dog Walking, noted that dogs pee is nearly freezing in mid-air, including our dog Hazel.

Now, that’s cold.