The feathered flamingos are residents of Sunken Gardens, a botanical park in St. Petersburg along the state’s west coast. The park tweeted the photo from their official account on Wednesday, to alert animal lovers the flamingos appeared safe from the oncoming storm.
A photo of the pink creatures bunched together in a bathroom spread widely on social media and appeared to lighten some people’s mood amid the deadly, destructive tropical storm. The snap also shows a large bowl of food and water on the ground beside the animals.
“We’re hunkered down! Our animals are safe w/staff on site to see them through the storm. The flamingos are having a hurricane party in the bathroom; eating, drinking, & dancing. Stay safe out there!” the tweet reads.
And it wasn’t the first time we’ve seen flamingos seek shelter in a bathroom during a hurricane.
“I can’t believe it has been 30 years since Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida,” wildlife expert and photographer Ron Magill posted on Twitter this week with a photo of another group of pink flamingos huddled together in a South Florida bathroom. “I’ll never forget capturing this image of the zoos flamingos huddled in the ladies restroom for protection.
Instead, Ian hit hardest farther south, making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane and bringing 150 mph winds, storm surges and mass destruction. As of Friday morning, at least 12 deaths had been reported in the state and more than 2 million Floridians remained without power.
According to the City’s of St. Petersburg’ website, the 4-acre park where the pink flamingos live is the state’s oldest living museum. The 100-year-old garden is home to not only birds, but some of the oldest tropical plants in the region.
The gardens have existed for more than a century, and are one of the oldest roadside tourist attractions in the nation.
A spokesperson from the park could not immediately be reached by USA TODAY, but in a Thursday post on Facebookthe park reported it sustained minimal damage from Ian and hoped to reopen over the weekend.
Ian hit the southwest coast Wednesday afternoon at the island of Cayo Costa near Fort Myers and Cape Coral. Heavy rains and storm conditions then traveled more than 100 miles north to Tampa Bay where the zoo is.
Hurricane Ian tracker:Charting the path of where deadly storm will hit next
Ian later downgraded to a tropical storm, but strengthened back into a Category 1 hurricane late Thursday and was set to make landfall Friday afternoon on the coast of South Carolina before moving inland across the state and into North Carolina by Saturday.
Hard rain and tropical storm conditions had already reached the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas by Friday morning, where life-threatening storm surges and hurricane conditions were expected to develop. Rainfall of up to 8 inches threatened flooding from South Carolina to Virginia, the National Weather Service reported.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism