Confessions From A Zookeeper. Who Knew Behind-The-Scenes Was So Bananas.

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Surprisingly, this has happened twice. And it wasn't a joke. A coworker heard this story about a klipspringer at her last job and I heard it about an eland at our park.

Again, this was at the drive through park. We also get made fun of (a lot) for cleaning up poop, I don't understand. And I know a lot of you won't believe this one but the animals do love us and will protect us. But this is one of my favorites because the llama chased them until they went over a cattle guard (about a quarter of the way through the park). My parrot bites and lunges at people he doesn't trust. I have had the spider monkey male scream and shake the cage and stand between me and the guests (I was in the exhibit) if people start acting stupid or if he just doesn't like the look of them. Our servals, binturongs and goats have done the same (just to name a few).

This was a teacher in a school group going around asking all of our staff this. She was convinced one of our vultures had died and we just left it for the others to eat. What was ACTUALLY in there was a deer torso with the legs and head removed. I don't know how she thought the fur was feathers though.


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I don't have a problem talking about animal anatomy but some people get really squeamish when I explain what is really going on.

My coworker replied with "Well, I guess she's just the Casey Anthony of the primate world."

I've heard a lot of odd descriptions about animals but this one made me laugh quite a bit.


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I understand everyone is curious about what our opinion is on other zoos because we are in the field and know the world. People get especially curious when there are controversial issues that come up. I try not to give my opinion b/c I haven't been behind the scenes at whatever zoo and I don't want to trash-talk another facility. It's also usually very complicated issues and everyday people don't always want to hear things that don't line up with their views.

Sometimes animal moms don't know what they are doing or just don't want to be moms. It happens in captivity and in the wild. We don't hand raise babies just because we want to. As much as I would love to raise a baby lemur, our females are great moms so I probably never will.

Once we are closed, I start putting animals away. I will not let them back out because you want to stroll through the park. We all love our jobs but we still want to go home too, please don't linger then complain about your experience being diminished by us trying to close. Also a lot of animals recognize the schedule they are on and will put themselves away. Also, the rule at our location (and most) are never, ever go in with big cats. Just because a tiger "looks tame" doesn't mean that it is.

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This occurred at a drive through park. The rules are in place for your safety not to make you feel like you are missing out. I sprinted through the field screaming at them to get back into their car. We don't even get out near the wildebeest.

So this particular woman was an older lady with her family. They had come in June the previous year (the peak of baby season). She got very irate with me as I tried to explain the babies arrive throughout the year. This was the drive through park as well. It's a large facility with a lot of hoof-stock and so, a lot of babies. Not all babies arrive at the same time. The main part of baby season starts late March (at the earliest) and will continue through October.

This happens A LOT. We have a large walk through aviary full of budgies for people to feed. The kids fall in love with them and immediately want them. I have had people try to sneak a bird out and then got upset when it bit them as they grabbed it. We also get people asking if they can buy piglets or llamas. The piglets annoy me especially because people forget that animals grow up and don't always stay cute.

This happens more than you think. People honestly seem to forget that animals grow up and don't stay little. The baby she was asking about had been transferred to another facility we own and when I told her this she was so shocked that we would dare remove an animal from our facility and she couldn't see him anymore.


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