Animals were given iced or frozen versions of their usual food. For the lions, that meant a blood ice block set in a 30 litre bucket, while bears enjoyed a frozen fishy, meaty, fruit and vegetable concoction.
Meanwhile commuters faced delays, firefighters battled blazes and the bitumen was melting away with the records as the southern states sizzled through a heatwave on Tuesday.
In Victoria, paramedics warned children locked in cars during the heatwave may as well have a ‘‘gun put to their heads’’, while in Tasmania, police reported bitumen melting in the hot temperatures.
Ambulance Victoria said paramedics were called to 11 cases of children locked in cars on Monday, with fears of more heat-affected emergencies as the temperature continued to rise, reaching more than 45 degrees in parts of the state on Tuesday.
A grass fire threatening the town of Kangaroo Ground on Melbourne’s outskirts was still spreading on Tuesday night.
CFA spokesman Mick Harris said about 1000 people and 300 houses were in the direct area of the fire.
A bushfire was also burning out of control north of Adelaide, posing a threat to homes in the area.
In Adelaide, the heatwave challenged records dating back more than 70 years.
Adelaide sweltered through 45C on Tuesday, just one degree short of its all time high of 46.1C set on January 12, 1939.
Meanwhile Melburnians complained of heat exhaustion on trams as temperatures inside one hit 42.8 degrees at 3pm on Tuesday, and train commuters faced peak-hour delays with Metro Trains announcing speed restriction due to the heat.
Ambulance Victoria made dire warnings for the heatwave, with temperatures in Melbourne peaking at 42.8 at 4pm on Tuesday and forecast to reach about 40 degrees for the rest of the working week.
Charlton, in the Mallee, was the hottest place in the state hitting 46.3 at 3.31pm while, also in the Mallee, Longerenong hit 46 degrees at 3.15pm and Hopetoun Airport reached 45.7 at 3pm.
Swan Hill hit 45.2 degrees at 3.10pm and Mildura got to 44.8 at 3.20pm.
Ambulance operations manager Paul Holman took aim at parents who left children in cars, saying while some cases were accidental, others appeared to be deliberate.
‘‘I understand at times it’s a bit of an inconvenience but it’s better to have an inconvenience than a dead child,’’ Mr Holman said on Tuesday.
He said ambulance crews would struggle to cope with the influx of heat-related patients despite all available staff being put on duty.
‘‘We will be stretched, there’s no two ways about it,’’ Mr Holman said.
‘‘We have recalled all available staff, every available vehicle will be on the road.’’