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How animals stay cool in the summer

(Flickr photo © by Tambako the Jaguar) Those beautiful patterns on a giraffe aren’t just for show. In addition to providing camouflage, those patches are surrounded by a heavy concentration of blood vessels, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation says. When a giraffe is hot, those vessels flood the center of the patch with warmed blood. That heat then escapes through a “thermal heat window” in the patch.

How animals evolved to stay cool under the sweltering summer sun

While areas around the Northern Hemisphere bake under a hot summer sun, humans can head indoors to find respite from 100-degree temperatures and insufferable humidity. But what about our four-legged and feathered friends? How have they managed to stay cool for thousands of years? Here’s a look at how evolutionary traits and behavior helped these 11 species beat the heat. — Tim Skillern