Heavy snowfall in Washington, D.C. saw zoo animals awash in white blankets, with residents fighting and frolicking in the snow.
The Smithsonian Zoo enjoyed its first flurry of the year as temperatures plummeted, but tensions heat up.
The zoo’s Twitter account shared clips of the animals in the middle of a winter wonderland, showing two male sloth bears, Niko and Dimak, going face-to-face on the ice.
The bears, which can grow up to 6 feet tall and weigh up to 300 pounds, grabbed and snapped at each other while standing on their hind legs.
The zoo said: “Everyone is getting in on the #SnowDay spirit! In DC, sloth bear Niko and Demak had chill wrestling between them, while American bison Lucy and Galli and Asian elephant Swarna grazed peacefully.”
Rosalie, a cheetah mother in nearby Virginia, and her cubs got a taste of fresh snow at the institute’s headquarters in Front Royal, Virginia.
The zoo added “Rosalie and her cubs woke up to a snowy surprise!”
While big cats, and elephants, have traditionally come from tropical climates, both species took a chill turn in their progress.
The zoo, which was closed to the public due to “bad weather”, captured the animals’ joyous reactions and shared them on Twitter, aptly captioned #snowday.
Meanwhile, one of the star inhabitants, the giant panda cub Xiao Qi Jie, is literally trapped.
The zoo captured a 16-month-old baby playing in the snow saying: “New Year, New Xiao Qi Ji! In 2021, our giant panda cub was a little wary during its first encounter with the snow.
“This morning, 16 Mo first dusted the face in fresh powder, swung around and enjoyed the first #SnowDay of 2022.”
The clip has garnered over 100,000 views since it was shared on Twitter, as people adored the adorable panda.
This isn’t the first time Xiao Qi Ji, which means “little miracle” in Mandarin, has seen snow, the last year the bear got its first taste of. His response this year is the exact opposite of his inaugural meeting with the white material.
Xiao Qi Jie, born in August 2020, encountered snow for the first time on January 31 last year.
The zoo shared its milestone with fans, saying: “As the clumps were falling, the Panda team brought Xiao Qi Jie out of the indoor enclosure into the snow-covered courtyard behind the scenes.
“He seemed unsure of it at first and stood there for a moment to take it all in. Keeper Stacy Tabellario made him his own panda-cub-sized snowman. He sniffed it before the frost bites.”
“They explored the area for about five minutes before the keepers took them back inside. Although their journey was short, it looked like they were having a great time.”
Commenting on both clips, Hunter Baker commented: “The lazy bear loves to play in the snow.”
Delia B’Delia simply said: “The beast in the snow.”
Susan Decker joked: “It hasn’t snowed in DC until the panda rolls on @nationalzoo.”
Elizabeth Harris said: “I love watching animals play in the snow, especially for the first time!”
Joel Gwadz wrote: “Everybody loves a Snow Day!”
While Katie Jones said: “It’s the best part of the snow days.”
Other animals at the Smithsonian that got a taste for snowflakes were a cow named Rose, and a wallaby, commonly found in the warm climates of Australia.
“Today’s #SnowDay brings snowflakes to our Bennett Wallaby’s nose and eyelashes!” Zoo tweeted.
A winter storm hit the mid-Atlantic region earlier in the week, with the National Weather Service reporting that 8.5 inches of snow fell in D.C.
A heavy downpour stalled President Joe Biden’s helicopter, forcing him to head to the White House.