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Thermal images reveal animal behaviour at night

ZSL London Zoo has released a series of fascinating thermal images showing the nocturnal goings-on of some of its animal inhabitants after dark.

Using a specialist FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) camera, ZSL’s photographer was able to reveal the unique heat radiation patterns of the animals during the ‘ZSL London Zoo Lodges’ overnight experience.

Famous for their one-legged stance, the Zoo’s flamingos were captured by the thermal camera with one of their cool legs tucked up in the feathers for warmth, while their warm necks glowed red on the images.

Other images show off some of the animal’s remarkable adaptations, from Nicky the pygmy hippo’s self-insulating skin to Asiatic lion, Bhanu’s thick mane – designed to both impress potential mates and regulate the temperature of the leader of ZSL London Zoo’s pride.

ZSL London Zoo Asiatic lion Bhanu has a warm body with a cooler mane – (c) ZSL

Kathryn England, ZSL London Zoo Chief Operating Officer said, “These thermal images give a really unique view of the animals – and while they look quite beautiful and artistic, they also tell us a lot about each individual and what they were up to that night.

“Nicky the pygmy hippo’s golden glow lets us know she’s just enjoyed a dip in her heated pool, while Nancy the porcupine’s cool feet suggest she’s been foraging for food outdoors.

“It’s really fascinating to see the animals from this perspective.”

ZSL London Zoo Pygmy Hippo Nicky showing warmth after taking a dip in her heated pool – (c) ZSL

Guests on the ZSL London Zoo Lodges experience can spend a night within roaring distance of Asiatic lions, Bhanu, Heidi, Indi and Rubi, in one of nine cosy cabins within the heart of the Zoo’s Land of the Lions exhibit.

ZSL London Zoo’s Commercial Manager, Simon Maples added: “ZSL London Zoo is a magical place at night, it’s hard to believe you’re in the heart of the capital when you’re surrounded by such amazing wildlife.

“Staying overnight in our lodges gives guests the chance to explore the Zoo with our wonderful hosts and see for themselves what happens at ZSL London Zoo after dark.”

For more information on visiting go to

Main image: Flock of flamingos showing warm necks and cool legs in their pool at ZSL London Zoo – (c) ZSL

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