Zookeepers Are Sharing Their Most WTF Stories On Reddit
When behind-the-scenes stories from zoo employees take you into the real safari...
The pissed chimp
"We had this old female chimp who was always cranky - she was like 60. The indoor rooms for the chimps had big windows, maybe five-by-10 feet made of bulletproof glass. Whenever this chimp would get excited or mad she would run up and kick the window Street Fighter style. This one time a nine-year-old boy was teasing her at the window for quite a while, and she was getting pissed. She kept kicking the window and finally kicked it so hard she broke the god damn thing right out. Fortunately she freaked out and hid in the corner rather than escaping. I heard the call on the radio and rushed down to the scene. The windows are expensive and not readily available, so facilities just put some plywood in its place for a couple weeks while the window was on order."
The sedated Tiger
"We were transporting a sedated tiger to the veterinary clinic in the back of a van. During the transport, the 'sedated' tiger raised his head, placed his mouth around a keeper's lower leg, then fell back asleep. A good solid 20 seconds of 'did that just f*cking happen?' before the vets pushed another bump of propofol to keep him down until we got him onto the anesthesia machine."
"A chimpanzee saved a piece of newspaper she'd been given for enrichment until keepers showed up the next day. She climbed up to my eye level, held out an ad for Chips Ahoy cookies, then pointed at me."
"I fed one of the sloths while volunteering behind the scenes at a zoo for a service organization and it fell asleep halfway through chewing a pear slice. Then it woke up a minute later and finished it."
"Elephants are extremely emotional animals. Another zoo had to close their elephant cage for budget reasons, but we had some capacities to fill. Their elephants were entering our cage. The foreigners were immediately greeted by our own population. The happiness in the eyes of our group of elephants was a joy to watch."
Taking shots like a man
"Used to work in the Biblical Zoo here in Jerusalem. One summer we had a rhino exhibition and had three rhinos 'rented' to attract customers. Anyway, we had to give one of them a certain shot because he wasn't feeling too well; evidently the weather in Jerusalem was making him feel sickly. We escorted him into the room, where he sat down, as in on his ass, like humans do, and took the injection like a man. He then proceeded to get back up on all fours, and walk out calmly. That image is burned into my memory. And I wasn't the only one who was shocked by it. Friend got a tattoo of it on his leg, actually."
She knows what she's doing
"I work with exotic animals. We have a marmoset (little monkey) that does lots of little, oddly human things, but her most recent/most creepy thing is her new method of 'asking' for food. If you've got something and you aren't sharing, she'll sit in the corner of her enclosure, then turn, look over her shoulder, and gaze up at you with big round eyes until you give in or she gets mad. She looks just like a little girl bribing her father. We aren't really sure where she got it from."
Saving the lobsters
"Aquarist here. A woman used to frequently bring in live lobsters she had bought from the grocery store and expected us to take care of them. She really thought she was 'rescuing' them. When we finally tried to explain that the store would just replace them with more lobsters; she got angry and stopped coming."
"A little late but its too good. I worked at a zoo with a blue and gold macaw named Gomez. He was two years old, so still really a baby, and he was learning to mimic us. Whenever he was too loud, one of the keepers would tell him 'Shut up, Gomez.' So one day she does this and we all hear back 'Shut up.' He had learned to tell himself to shut up."
Happy day at the zoo
"Same day as that dude: creating a human barrier that blocked the public's view of a woman giving birth. Yes, the family has free zoo admission for life"
"Going into the penguin display for the first time and being told "Just so you're aware, penguins have projectile poop." Would've been good to know before I went in there... (yeah, I didn't really have good luck with birds)"
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