Photo by Anetka Zakrzewska
In Russia, it isn’t just prison inmates who go without heat. One million homeless kids get in on the freezing-their-fucking-balls-off action too. Christ, during the Russian winter, people who keep their cell phones pressed to their heads for too long find them frozen to their ears. So can you imagine how it is for an exotic animal that isn’t exactly indigenous to Mother Russia? It’s enough to make even a monkey want to get wasted. So that’s exactly what they do. Russian zookeeps and animal trainers regularly get their wards hammered.
This last winter was exceptionally harsh, and zookeepers across Russia have been giving their animals shots — or in some cases buckets — of vodka to keep them comfy during what Russians refer to as “frosts.” (That’s when it’s fucking 30 - 40°C below zero.)
These sharp frosts are extremely dangerous to foreign animals in Russia. Moscow trainer Andrei Kornilov recently told a local magazine, “It’s a climatic shock, so we have to keep them warm with alcohol. Yesterday we gave a bucket of vodka to one of the elephants, and after drinking it he tore off a central heating radiator.”
Elephants get approximately one bottle of vodka per bucket of water, while macaques at the Krasnoyarsk Zoo sip cheap, French wine three times a day. In other zoos, camels, wild boar, and reindeer get single shots of vodka when they look a bit chilly.
But guess what? Alcohol doesn’t really warm the body. It just limits sensation in the skin — and since it thins the blood out, it actually speeds up hypothermia. Doesn’t at least one veterinarian in Russia know this? Can we not get Google over there?
In the meantime, frozen animals are boozing it up to stay warm. It may not be the best solution, but at least they’ll be able to learn to slur their words, have relationship problems, and snort coke so they can keep the buzz going for longer.