Thermal Zoo Pics

These pictures were taken by the Predator while hunting at the London Zoo. Turns out the Predator's actual name is Steve Lowe! There's an article about it in the Telegraph.

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The images show how different animals use their fur and feathers to regulate their body heat.

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More below the fold...

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These are beautiful. But one thing is puzzling: why can we see the zebra's stripes? It occurred to me there are two possibilities: 1) if the photo was taken during daylight, the zebra's black stripes might be absorbing the sun's heat and are thus emitting more heat, 2) if the photo was taken at night, somehow the hair patterns in the white areas are different from the black and this leads to quantitatively different levels of convection.

Most people know a domestic cat can fluff up its fur to conserve heat. The cat can also skew its fur -- where the hairs form little clumps that point in different directions, creating big gaps in coverage -- in order to dump excess heat. I've seen this in a cat that played so hard for so long that it had to stop and pant. My hand could feel the heat rising from its body.

Beautiful pictures indeed. Especially when taking into account that the energy needed to maintain body temperature in mammals differs over several orders of magnitude. IIRC, a book called "Temperature and Life" stated that mice would need a fur of several feet thickness if they had an elephant's metabolism and that the surface temperature of elephants would exceed 100 centigrades if they had the metablism of mice.

Anyone got a pointer to the technique/tool used?

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 05 Feb 2008 #permalink

tHAT IS SOOOOOOOOOOO COOL. I wish evey thig was in thermal vision

These are beautiful. But one thing is puzzling: why can we see the zebra's stripes? It occurred to me there are two possibilities: 1) if the photo was taken during daylight, the zebra's black stripes might be absorbing the sun's heat and are thus

The cat can also skew its fur -- where the hairs form little clumps that point in different directions, creating big gaps in coverage -- in order to dump excess heat. I've seen this in a cat that played so hard for so long that it had to stop and pant. My hand could feel the heat rising from its body.