Zoos and aquariums are some of the coolest places to visit—with or without kids. For an entire day, you can visit tigers, giraffes, sea lions, and all other kinds of interesting creatures that you would otherwise not encounter.
Zoos are fun, educational, hopefully ethical—and also crazy to work at. If you’re a zookeeper or work at a zoo, chances are your stories are a lot different than a zoo visitor.
Maybe they’re a bit more disgusting or inappropriate—or maybe they’re actually magical.
People who have worked at zoos are sharing some of their stories and secrets about what it really is like to work with exotic animals.
Don’t turn your back on the Tapir!
“Some people like to bring fruit and stuff to throw into the animals cages, even though they’re not supposed to. If you’re around and someone throws a pineapple into the gorilla or chimpanzee dens, gtfo. They will throw that thing full blast at someone. I saw a man get hit full force right in the side of the head, and he was lights out. Pineapple exploded on impact. Paramedics came and everything.” — Sedintwinz
“I volunteer at an aquarium and the people always ask about whether the sharks that are in with the fish ever eat the fish officially we say, ‘we keep them well fed enough that they don’t,’ but on more then one morning on my initial walk around I have found remains of fish that definitely weren’t feed fish. On a particularly memorable occasion I found the head of a large porgy just sitting on the bottom. A diver went in and got it before guests arrived.” — _Fun_Employed
“Rhinos may look super intimidating, and they can hurt you, but really they just act like big dogs. They love being scratched and will eat all the fruit out of your hand!” — battlegato
“Partner was a zookeeper in Dallas. Safety protocols for when a large, dangerous animal escapes its enclosure dictate that you lock yourself in whatever room you can get to quickest and grab the nearest weapon, which, for most zookeepers, was a broom or rake for cleaning up animal poop.” — musical_hog
“Worked in an animal refuge in Bolivia. We were told on our first day not to let the Tapir turn its back on you. Forgetting that vital piece of info, 3 days later I was filming the Tapir as it starts to turn its back on me and my friend. Before we could react, its schlong did a 180 and projectile c*mmed all over my phone and gaping mouth. We couldn’t get rid of the smell for days. If you ever come close to a tapir, do not let it turn its back on you.” — c11life
“The poor penguin keepers can never quite get rid of the miasma of dead fish that envelopes them. As for me, the stinkiest job I ever had to do was cleaning out the duck ponds. Managed to empty a whole train carriage that evening, even though I had changed and my work clothes were double-bagged.” — ShadyElmm
“Lions know fully well that they can’t get through the glass. They do that just to get attention.” — WF6i
“Dead zoo animals are sometimes fed to carnivores. There’s a farm/zoo in the UK that uses crocodiles to get rid of dead cows. The owner once said he’d like the same end when he dies.” — KToTheA-
“We closed the baboon exhibit because a baboon had a still birth and the troupe was ‘grieving.’ In reality they were throwing parts of the infant corpse around and there was nothing we could do about it.” — randomiser5000
“Fun fact bout the local zoo I learned when I worked maintenance, there is a wolf enclosure. There is info bout the wolves, it’s maintained. ‘They are just shy/in their shelter atm.’ There are no wolves, never was.” — Ew_E50M