Environment & Science

Heat wave: Los Angeles Zoo doles out 'meatsicles,' 'trashsicles' and frozen blood to animals

Frozen bird
Frozen bird "popsicles" for the lions sit in the freezer at the Los Angeles Zoo on Friday, Sept. 12 in preparation for Cool at the Zoo this weakend.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Frozen bird
Mike Maxcy, principle animal keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo, peeks into a freezer where "popsicles" are made for animals during the summer.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Frozen bird
Fresh fruit is placed into a tub to be made into a "popsicle" for elephants at the Los Angeles Zoo on Friday, Sept. 12.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Frozen bird
Zoo workers make rozen fruit and vegetables for the black bears at the Los Angeles Zoo. Th animals have these frozen treats about two to three times a week during the summer.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Frozen bird
Frozen blood is fed to the jaguars and tigers during the summer to help the Los Angeles Zoo's big cats cool off.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Frozen bird
Tubs filled with frozen vegetables sit in a freezer at the Los Angeles Zoo on Friday, Sept. 12. The "popsicles" were fed to the animals front of patrons during Cool at the Zoo from Sept. 12 through 13.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Frozen bird
Mike Maxcy, principle animal keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo, collects sweet fruits and vegetables for elephant "popsicles." The popsicles can weigh up to 200 pounds.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Frozen bird
Mike Maxcy, principle animal keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo, adds about 40 gallons of water to fruits and vegetables to make elephant "popsicles." The elephants throw the popsicles on the ground to break them up, then eat each piece one-by-one.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC


Los Angeles residents are trying their best to beat the triple-digit heat, heading to swimming pools, the beach and anywhere else that offers the promise of sweet wet relief — or at least electricity and functioning air conditioning. Animals at the L.A. Zoo are getting their own cool treat: specially made popsicles, or at least what passes in the animal world for one.

The frozen snacks are dished out at the zoo two to three times a week during the summer. The lions receive "meatsicles" made out of frozen birds, orangutans get "fruitiscles," the zoo's black bear enjoys "fishsicles" and the elephants eat up special "trashsicles," made of giant blocks of frozen fruit and vegetables prepared in large trash cans.

Just one of those icy elephant snacks can weigh up to 200 pounds. The zookeeper adds about 40 gallons of water to turn the fruits and vegetables into those elephant snacks, which the elephants then throw on the ground to break them up before eating each piece individually.

Oh, and beyond those, the jaguars and tigers get a special vampiric treat — they're given frozen blood to keep them cool. The "popsicles" were recently shown off during the zoo's "It's Cool at the Zoo" promotion, featuring firefighters spraying their hoses, Cool Zones where sweaty visitors could enjoy a cool mist and fans and the animals eating frozen treats.

Watch an elephant enjoy his summer chance for a brain freeze:

Video: LA elephant wrestles with a trashsicle