HONEY-FILLED ice blocks, frozen blueberry smoothies and a refreshing watermelon slice were just a few of the cool treats that animals at Cotswold Wildlife Park have been enjoying during the heatwave.

As temperatures soared this week, keepers have been pulling out all the stops to keep their charges chilled.

Oxford Mail:

The park’s ring-tailed lemurs were wide-eyed and more than willing as they saw the keepers coming out with fruit lollies made from a frozen blueberry smoothie.

They were even treated to some hidden fruit inside – a summer treat good enough to rival that of any park visitors this week.

Oxford Mail:

Elsewhere, the wolverine kits enjoyed a large ice block containing honey, nuts and raisins, while the meerkats were spoiled with a slice of watermelon to get their teeth into.

Oxford Mail:

Over in the big cat enclosures, the park’s Asiatic lion pride were treated to blood lollies with dad Rana taking the lion’s share of the iced treats before his two-year-old daughters Kali, Sita and Sonika were given a look in alongside mum Khana.

Oxford Mail:

Cotswold Wildlife Park head of primates and small mammals Chris Kibbey said: “With this glorious weather we have all been waiting for, as well as their legs, there is something else the keepers like to get out – iced treats for the animals.

“As well as being good fun to watch, these treats keep the animals busy and help cool them down on a hot day.

“Native meerkats come from Africa, but ours were all born in England so it can be a shock to the system when we eventually get some nice weather.”

The temperature in Oxfordshire yesterday soared to a scorching 26C and is expected to remain largely the same if not hotter by the weekend with highs of 27C.

As a result of the heatwave, the RSPCA urged pet owners to stop putting their animals' lives at risk in the hot weather.

Over the past two weeks the charity said it had been ‘inundated’ with calls about dogs left in stationary cars and vans, and from June 11 to 24 said it had received 13 calls from Oxfordshire alone from people concerned about animals with heat exposure.

It also revealed that among the lame excuses its officers had been given across the country this month by dog owners were ‘I have only been in the pub for half an hour’, ‘my dog is white, he’ll be fine’ and ‘I can’t help it if the shade moved’.

The charity urged people to not take the risk and instead leave their pets at home where they can stay cool.

Anyone who sees a pet in a hot car displaying signs of heatstroke – panting or drooling – should call 999.