5 June 2019

From hot-headed flamingos to cool-as-a-cucumber cats, thermal images snapped at ZSL London Zoo show rare animals in a whole new light. 

The pictures, taken during our London Zoo Lodges’ overnight experience, provide a heatmap of some of the 18,000 animals that call the Zoo home. Eager to see the nocturnal goings-on at the world-famous Zoo, our photographer used specialist camera, FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared), to reveal the unique heat radiation patterns of the animals.

Thermal image of flamingos at London Zoo

Thermal images of flamingos

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 showed 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.

Kathryn England, our 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.

Thermal image of a hippo at London Zoo

Pygmy hippo glows in thermal images

“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.”

Guests on the ZSL London Zoo Lodges experience spend a night within roaring distance of Asiatic lions, Bhanu, Heidi, Indi and Rubi, in one of nine cosy cabins nestled in the heart of the Zoo’s famed Land of the Lions exhibit. Beautifully decorated with a bespoke, hand-painted mural, each lodge is filled with handpicked sustainable products to fit with the international conservation charity’s ‘free from single-use plastic’ ethos. Stunning throws and cushions made from recycled plastic bottles decorate each lodge while bamboo toilet paper fill each en-suite.

Thermal image of a porcupine at London Zoo

Our 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.”


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