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Zookeepers Reveal The Weirdest Thing They've Seen An Animal Do

Animals have a lot in common with humans, and sometimes they demonstrate it by acting silly at the zoo, like the time a monkey made a shiv and tried to stab an employee.

KingDoggo173 asked zookeepers of Reddit: What's the weirdest thing you've seen an animal do?

Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.


Maybe because captivity is torture?

Ex zookeeper here, I remember once there was a period of a few days where one of the chimps had this stick and was spending hours at a time just rubbing it on the ground. Some of the keepers tried to give it other toys to play with etc but it wasn't interested. Anyway, long story short, it was sharpening the stick and then tried to stab a keeper through the bars of their indoor part of their enclosure.

mattsh123

Boy straight up made a shiv and shanked the prison guard.

ArishaSmile

That analogy is pretty much why I'm not a zookeeper anymore.

mattsh123

This is a mood.

I worked at a private zoo for a while and the weirdest was probably the female baboon rescue we had. She was very well tempered but she would beckon new workers over to her cage with a gesture and if you had anything in your hand, she'd reach out and rip it from you then throw it off the steep hill behind her enclosure.

Harmonious3

I can't stop laughing at how truly douchy this is ๐Ÿ˜‚

emilymp93

There were lots of pens and hats and shit down in the "pit" at the bottom of that hill we didn't bother to get. It's only when she threw phones down did we even make an effort to get in there.

Harmonious3

So like us.

Male teenage red howler monkeys that grab their assh*le while pooping, and taking all the sh*t out with their hands.

Seriously, howler monkeys are weird AF.

Dysiss

So are male teenagers.

fairywings789

Am male teenager, can relate.

opera_ndrew

Am also male teenager, I also pull poop out my butt when going to the toilet.

EamonElliott

"What the f*ck is this!? Who keeps putting these here? I am so godd*mn sick of pulling these out..."

halborn

Cat regret.

Volunteer (former), not keeper. I liked to show up early before my shift to watch the big cats get let out into their space. One morning, one of the lionesses was already out and she was sitting there, like the famous NY library lions, only with a Calvin face. Her tongue was hanging out and her eyes were squinched up. I asked the lead cat keeper what the deal was. "Oh, she ate a skunk yesterday, so we decided it'd be a good idea to let her stay outside overnight instead of stinking up the night house."

They opened the doors to the lions' night house and her brother and sister came bounding up to her in what appeared to be great concern ("Where WERE you last night?!?!?). Her sister took one whiff and bounded to another place in the exhibit. Her brother started to sit close to her, thought better of it, walked about six feet away and then settled down and watched her.

iliketodrawcats

Animals aren't much different than people in some ways.

Been a zookeeper for almost 2 years now. We have a giraffe that has a couple meds he has to take daily, but the little shit will NOT take the same food from you two days in a row. He knows exactly what we're up to and also happens to be the pickiest eater ever so sometimes it takes an hour to get five pills, the size of A TYPICAL ADVIL PILL, into this 2,000 lb animal.

Also was watching lions in their inside enclosure once, mom and dad we're laying down and daughter was just walking around trying to find a spot. The daughter is notorious for bugging any other lion with her to play by sitting on them. She walks over to mom and starts to sit, or so I thought, and just starts PISSING ON HER. I've never seen a lion double take but that second I swear to god I saw mom look at what was falling on her and then just DISGUST on her face and she jumped up and swatted at daughter. It was pretty freaking hilarious.

CinnamonCat

Treats! Who doesn't love treats?

I would bring the chimps treats each week. I once brought a bag full of lychee, which they thought was only "meh" but the keepers loved them. Surprised me, since I thought they would go nuts for them so I picked a whole tree's worth.

One day I bring a dozen kiwi, and it was clear they had never seen them before. Watching them peel the kiwi so delicately with their lips was amazing.

Also, given watermelon, they will eat it all the way through to the skin. I'm talking all the rind down to one millimeter of tough green skin.

They'll chomp a banana tree stalk like candy... anyway, chimps love treats.

Wrathchilde

That sounds like a fun part of zookeeping. I remember a zoo I visited once that had an exhibit on the dietary enhancements they provide to their animals, including a visual display of the typical fruits they'd acquire or, in some cases, grow locally. It was really cool.

Also, those chimpanzees with their surprised reverence for kiwifruit reminds me a little bit of myself.

RexSueciae

This is next level animal pettiness.

I was a zookeeper and worked in animal care in various capacities for a long time. One of the weirdest things I've seen is when a reptile "drops" their tail. It's only happened to me once with a Lemon gecko I was transferring from one terrarium to another. I had a poor grip on him and as he was wiggling loose I desperately grabbed on to his tail which he promptly dropped and I was left holding a dismembered, writhing tail while the gecko escaped.

Also, two of the lions at one of my jobs were afraid of a raccoon. I could hear them (the lions) making the most pitiful, pathetic bellowing sounds. I went to check on them and lo and behold a raccoon was up one of the trees in their enclosure. These two large alpha predators were absolutely distraught over a little raccoon. For it's part, the raccoon was completely unbothered and just observed them for a bit before going on it's way.

Larmes-du-soleil

I was a zoo volunteer and I helped one Thanksgiving morning. The keepers let me come to the tiger house to watch the girls' morning routine. They'd put a new log in a very large Siberian tiger's enclosure and she was really spooked by it. She whimpered and rubbed herself on the chain link and looked pitifully at the lead keeper. So... we had to let her back out into the exhibit, do the proper lockdown protocol, and haul the log out of her space.

iliketodrawcats

Honestly this just sounds like the large scale version of cats vs cucumbers.

CatzRuleMe

Beaver fever.

I'm a zookeeper! I work in a small department with lots of random animals that we take on programs to show guests. In our department, the cages are made of mesh, so the animals can sometimes be housed next to each other where they can reach each other and interact. One time, the beaver was housed next to the tamanduas (lesser ant eaters), and we went over and saw the tamanduas licking the beaver ALL OVER! By the time the beaver went back to his own enclosure he was soaking wet with tamandua spit.

alknuty

A family friend's dog used to do this to our smaller dog. It was an affection gesture.

PaintedLady5519

I work at an aquarium, not a zookeeper though. We have one male sea otter who likes to play with his penis right in front of the glass in the most prominent spot. Every damn day. I'm the one who stands by the exhibit, so I'm the one who has to field all the awkward questions.

__hey__its__me__

I was there last year and it was playing with a toy thingy at first. After a while it dropped the toy and played with a pink ball for a while and I was fascinated and watching until I noticed that that was his....

Carlocantcatchup

The Mitch McConnell maneuver.ย 

Super late, but actual Zookeeper. I was once charged by a very large male Sulcata Tortoise who apparently thought I got a little too close to his female. Fortunately I was able to step over the foot high fence in time so that I was viciously mauled. Our tortoises are characters. I've also had to flip the male over by myself, who mind you, is on the upper end of his life span and about as big as they get, because he got a little too frisky with the female and fell off.

edit: I did not in fact step over the fence to be mauled, but to avoid being mauled. spell checking is for squares.

TheOriginalRisen

Lol how fast was this guy going exactly?

InvisibleKhat

It took him a solid 30 seconds to turn, get from the end where he was, and end up where I was originally standing.

The enclosure's about 15-20ft wide.

TheOriginalRisen

Lunch.

Not a zookeeper but I saw a gorilla one time take a bunch of hay or grass in one hand, sh*t in the other and combine them together. He then ate it like a hotdog.

ctn0726

We're all playing checkers, this gorilla playing chess.

Orrickly

The orangutan at my local zoo used to crap in her hand, eat it, puke it up, and eat it again....repeating the cycle. Eventually they found it that she had some kind of deficiency and fixed it.

jlanger23

Isn't this how friends greet each other?

I once saw on gorilla poke another in the butt then sniff his finger.

One gorilla was laying in a hammock and the other was sitting on the ground beneath him. He would reach up, poke the gorillas butt, look at his finger, sniff it then repeat.

Pixie1121

I watched a gorilla puke in its own hand and eat it. Gorillas are f*ckin' weird.

salmon_samurai

Well I've seen a friend of mine puke in his beer glass and the drink it. The apple doesnt fall far from the tree.

Prossh_the_Skyraider

Patrons are also animals. Sometimes it shows.

I was a volunteer. If a zoo guest counts as an animal, we caught a guy trying to push the stall door open for our bull giraffe (all of the lady giraffes were in the adjoining stall) because "he looked lonely." (The guy was unable to and was gently told not to do that, please.) I have a personal theory that if it is possible for a zoo guest to get into, onto or behind an enclosure, they will. If you want to keep them out, you must make the enclosures people-proof. (Most guests are fine, it's the few like the Giraffe Liberator that are the pain).

koookoookachoo

Sh*t like that is how Harambe died.

georgeapg

Happy pig doggy.

My first 'proper' job, between high school and college was at a Zoo (South Lakes Wild Animal Park, in England). My favorite animal to work with was the babirusa; we only had one and he used to 'escort' me around the perimeter of his enclosure whenever I was in the area. If I stopped, he'd stop, if I walked backward he would turn around and follow. He would crazily wag his tail and make, what I assumed to be, 'happy' snorts. He seemed to genuinely enjoy seeing me, and when I didn't have much of anything to do I'd make my way over to his pen, just to rub his back. He was like an old, happy, doggo.

Vyzantinist

There are some in Budapest also. They are just a little happy pigs, and they like back rubs.

Luckily my arms are quite long and the fence is not too high, so I can reach in and rub their backs and noses. I really love them.

(Just so you know, I have grown up in village. We always had pigs and I know how to handle them safely, without giving them a chance to bite me.)

feregh

Oops that's my kink.

There was a chimp at a sanctuary I worked at with an armpit fetish. Every time someone came by he'd way his arm over his head until you did the same.

notkovitz

This Chimp has some tricks,

Always getting his way,

When he sees pretty chicks,

There's no time to play.

He puts on a show,

And hollers and waves.

They'll never know,

It's their armpits he craves.

sprog_is_my_dawg

Has she noticed you yet?

giantmantisshrimp

Nah, I only started practicing poems a week or so ago. Hoping someday I'll be as talented as the real sprog!

sprog_is_my_dawg

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