Nikita lounged on a bed of hay in the pale sunlight Tuesday afternoon.
The Kansas City Zoo's 7-year-old male polar bear is among the few animals flourishing in these extreme conditions.
It's so cold in Chicago that Lincoln Park Zoo is keeping its female polar bear, Anana, inside because it doesn't have enough blubber to protect her.
Nikita and the 24-year-old Berlin can roam the outdoors and their indoor climate-controlled areas. The polar bears, certain otters and other animals relish the polar vortex.
"They like the cold, the snow. They're at their heyday when they can have cold weather like this," Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff said. "They love it."
Other animals prefer the heat and they are snug inside. Wisthoff said special precautions are taken.
"You really have to be careful. They just can't do anything about it. They can't put on extra layers of clothes like we can," Wisthoff said. "They are susceptible to this type of stuff and they just can't tell you, 'Hey, I'm cold.'"
And even a polar bear like Nikita gets extra precautions. During much of the year, he sleeps outdoors in his sandy pit, but zookeepers put in extra hay for him to snuggle into during these cold winter nights.
See more behind-the-scenes stories on the Kansas City Zoo Show at 10 a.m. Saturdays on KCTV5.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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