Zookeepers And Zoo Volunteers Share Their Most WTF Moments

Voting Rules
Vote up the wildest zoo stories that make you glad you're not trapped behind bars.

People go to zoos to get a glimpse of the wild side, but behind-the-scenes stories from zoo employees take you on the real safari. For every zoo patron story about a pooping and/or mating animal, there exist dozens more crazy zookeeper stories more outrageous than anything on Animal Planet. The wildest stories from zookeepers, featuring characters ranging from feisty primates to killer kangaroos, showcase the drama you never realized was happening while you were holding your child over the fence of the gorilla enclosure. Because when animals get loose, it falls on the zookeeper to keep the peace. While the occasional tragedy goes down at a zoo, these funny zookeeper stories highlight the positive things that sometimes happen when you put wild animals in controlled spaces.

Thanks to the wonder of Reddit, zookeepers have shared their best stories for all to enjoy. The next time you go to the zoo, not only will you marvel at the animals, you'll also marvel at the employees who put up with more grief and feces than you ever see at your local dog park.

  • 1
    943 VOTES

    You Learn Stuff In The Outback

    From bigpeeler:

    "I've got a number of great stories from my years at the St Louis Zoo. Once a pack of four stray dogs got onto the zoo grounds. Security tried for a couple of days to catch them, to no avail. The dogs attacked and killed a small antelope one night. During the summer, we would leave certain animals out all night with the door open to allow them to go in and out.

    Since the dogs were loose on the grounds, we had orders to get all animals inside. We were able to get all our assigned animals in except for the kangaroos for some reason. The boomers (males) kept herding the rest of the herd against the far wall of the yard. No matter how hard we tried, we just couldn't get the whole herd to cooperate. We left them outside, crossed our fingers and went home.

    Early the next morning we walked in the Antelope House to find all of the roos in their cage. All were standing very alert and looking out of their door into the yard. We also noticed that four or five of the boomers had blood on their feet and forepaws. We ran out into the yard expecting to find a dead kangaroo or two.

    We found four dead dogs."

    943 votes
  • 2
    706 VOTES

    It's A Hard Rock Life

    From Krsst14:

    "During penguin nesting season, I once saw a rockhopper couple who had built a nest way up high at the top of a mountain of rocks. The lady of the house decided that she needed to redecorate the home and sent the male to find a suitable rock to add to the decor. As he hopped down the rocks, he was squawked at and pecked at by several other rockhoppers with nests, getting beat up all the way down to the ground where he started looking for pebbles. He found one he liked and ascended up the mountain to once again brave the very territorial, biting, screeching rockhoppers along the way. He laid the pebble down for his Mrs...

    And she slapped the sh*t out of him. She hated it.

    Immediately getting the point, he returned for a third pass at now even more pissed off rockhoppers back to the ground. This time, he was not playin'. He spent a good 10 minutes looking for a rock that he liked and BOOM! There it is!

    He tried to pick the rock up and immediately dropped it. He tried again and drops it. He tried one final time and it was just too big for him to carry. So his response?

    He threw his head back, flailed his flippers about, and cried to the sky. I did not see him return home for the rest of my shift."

    706 votes
  • 3
    704 VOTES

    Chimps Ahoy

    From sarahhaasis:

    "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."

    704 votes
  • 4
    449 VOTES

    Offensive Ocelots

    From Athena_Nikephoros:

    "One of our ocelots will eat anything and everything, even though he has a sensitive stomach and knows he'll puke. His specialty is catching opossums or squirrels and eating everything but the head, which he carefully positions in full view of the public next morning."

    449 votes
  • 5
    536 VOTES

    Taking Shots Like A Man

    From nzeit:

    "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."

    536 votes
  • 6
    641 VOTES

    Emotional Elephants

    From regdayrf2:

    "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."

    641 votes