SUSSEX is preparing itself for a heatwave as the county is set to bask in temperatures of up to 26C.

The Met Office has declared a Level 2 health alert to run through to Sunday morning.

The warning is triggered when the Met Office forecasts there is a 60% or higher chance of temperatures being high enough on at least two consecutive days and the intervening night to have a significant effect on health.

Temperatures are expected to rise to 26C in parts of Sussex today and remain high tomorrow, followed by a very humid night.

At the same time, a weather warning has also been issued for heavy rain during thunderstorms on Saturday.

The Met Office said this may lower temperatures slightly but it will still be very humid.

At Drusillas Zoo Park, in East Sussex, the capybaras at found a very clever way to chill out on the hottest day of the year so far by wallowing in a large puddle of thick wet mud.

Although humans may choose to cover themselves in mud packs as part of an extreme beauty regime, for the world’s largest rodents it’s all about staying cool.

Elsewhere in the park, the keepers were making giant lolly pops to feed to ring-tailed lemurs and racoons.

The lollies not only help keep the animals cool, it also offers enrichment to their daily lives, by encouraging them to work a little harder for their food as they would in the wild.

Director for health protection at Public Health England, Paul Cosford, said: “High temperatures can be dangerous, especially for people who may be particularly vulnerable such as older people, young children and those with serious illnesses.

“Everyone can enjoy the sun safely by keeping out of the heat at the hottest time of the day, avoiding sunburn and staying hydrated with plenty of cool drinks. Older people and those with long-term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of very hot weather, so it is important to look out for them and keep indoor areas as cool as possible.”