An orangutan eats an ice cream to cool off in Rio de Janeiro's zoo. The temperature reached a high of 95 degrees. (Lucas Landau/Reuters)

It has been mind-bogglingly cold in much of North America. But the sweltering weather on the opposite end of the Earth has man and beast dreaming of ice.

Brazil is sizzling, and with the heat index sometimes soaring above 120 degrees, keepers at the Rio de Janeiro zoo are giving animals ice pops to beat the heat.

The homemade treats come in various flavors. There are bucket-size blocks of iced fruit for Ze Comeia, a brown bear, and a bunch of chilled bananas for Karla the elephant.

The apes’ treats, strawberry or mango-flavored frozen yogurt pops, looked the most appealing to the crowds of humans who watched last week in the blazing sun and 94-degree weather.

“When I saw them eating them their ice creams, I asked my parents to get me one, too,” said Damaris Pereira Dias, 11, as she licked a green corn-flavored treat.

“I’m sweating so much out here, and I don’t even have fur,” zoo visitor Karla Nunes said. “Imagine them, poor things!”

Associated Press