KEEPERS at Longleat Safari Park have come up with a novel way of keeping their exotic animals chilled out in the searing heat.

They are providing a selection of unique home-made ice lolly flavour combinations to keep the animals cooled on one of the hottest days of the year so far.

Today’s temperature in the UK is forecast to top 36 degrees Centigrade.

A particular favourite among the Wiltshire wildlife attraction’s herd of Rothschild’s giraffe is frozen carrot and willow leaf balls, which are suspended on a chain over four metres above the ground.

For the park’s resident group of ring tail lemurs, keepers have devised a watermelon-based treat, while the red pandas have their very own pear and apple flavour lollies, complete with their very own stick.

The Rothschild’s giraffe has been officially designated as Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which means it may be threatened with extinction in the near future.

Giraffes are the tallest animals in the world. Fully-grown male giraffes can grow to heights in excess of five and a half metres.

They can reach speeds of up to 56 kilometres per hour and, in captivity, can live to be 25 years old.

The name lemur itself derives from the Latin word ‘lemures’ which means ghost and probably came from their nocturnal habits, ghost-like appearance and mournful-sounding cries.

In the mornings, the ring-tailed lemur sunbathes to warm itself. It faces the sun sitting in what is frequently described as a "sun-worshipping" posture or Lotus position.

Sunning is often a group activity, particularly during the cold mornings. At night, troops will split into sleeping parties huddling closely together to keep warm.

Like their famous namesakes the giant pandas, red pandas are increasingly endangered in the wild.

The species was officially designated as ‘Endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2008 when the global population was estimated at about 10,000 individuals.

Found in Nepal, Bhutan and China, they live among bamboo forests and spend much of their time in trees.