Despite being pandered to the masses as enclaves of animal safety and conservation, zoos are terrible places where even the safety of endangered animals is never guaranteed. Unfortunately, zoo animals eating other animals not only happens, it often happens where everyone sees it, patrons included. All it takes for zoo animals to eat other zoo animals is for the dumbest animals - the ones running the zoo - to make a single error, such as letting zoo animals escape. Usually when zookeepers fail to take the proper precautions, zoo animal feeding frenzies occur. That being said, many outrageous zookeeper stories where zoo animals ate each other happened for no obvious reasons at all, leaving people to guess why zoo animals eat other members of their zoo. If you think about what captivity does to humans, you start to wonder what that sort of thing might do to a tiger, gazelle, or lemur.
But sometimes, zoo animals kill each other simply because - as The Lion King puts it, - it's the circle of life. In the real world, sh*t happens, but as a few smart Reddit zookeepers put it, "predation occurs." These wild zookeeper stories of zoo animals eating each other show that same circle of life in action, and give you another reason to simply avoid zoos altogether.
Oh Deer, Oh Dear
From Redditor /u/SeriousBlack:
"One time a deer (not another zoo exhibit, just a normal deer) jumped into the lion pen at the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington DC. The adult lions tore it apart in front of a group of people."
Feather For Your Troubles
From Redditor /u/But-I-Must-Internet:
"I used to intern at a zoo in Pennsylvania and I will always remember the time I was in the primate house when a curator walked in with a handful of peacock feathers in her hand. She walked over to me and gave me one. I was pretty stoked. This zoo allows a flock of peacocks to wander around freely, so I asked her if she liked to collect the feathers they dropped.
'Oh no,' she said, 'these are from a peacock that flew into the Asian bear's enclosure and got eaten. He usually just ignores them but every now and again he'll get hungry and attack one and we have to distract him with treats so we can stop him from eating the whole thing. I just got back from carrying the body away and plucked a few of these for the education center.'
At this point I became very aware how moist the tip of the feather felt... It was a very eye-opening experience. I always wonder if some visitor caught it on camera and it's on YouTube somewhere."
'Are You Not Entertained?'
From Redditor /u/trancenental:
"Feral ducks are a massive issue for us. Lots of birds and water birds, and naturally migratory ducks, want to find a good place to post up and get free food. With that comes lots of baby ducks, who wander off into the darnedest of places away from their mothers.
A small group found their way into the Orangutan enclosure, and sh*t got disturbing pretty quick. Long story short, in front of a large group of guests, our alpha female picked one up and began to forcefully masturbate with it. In and out, in and out of her big, hairy, orange cooter, all the while she stares back blankly at the crowd that's gathered and is losing their minds. The alpha male, not to be outdone, scores himself a little duckling. But he ends it quick: he squeezes it until it pops in his hand, and he forcefully throws it into the glass barrier where the guests are, and its little dead body smears down the glass, streaking it. Little kids are now screaming and crying, and the male is in there like Russell Crowe, 'Are you not entertained?'"
From a deleted user:
"We go to SeaWorld and I'm about nine at the time and we go to look at the crocodiles. They are in a circular pit and there are dozens of people around. They start throwing chicken breasts at the crocodiles and most of the time the chicken breast would just hit the crocodile in the face. So pelicans would come down and take them, and one of the pelicans swoops down and tries to take a chicken. Out of nowhere a crocodile flies from the water and bites this huge pelican. While the pelican is still twitching trying to get free, another crocodile chomps down on the other part of the pelican and the two crocodiles rip it in half. There were kids screaming everywhere. I love SeaWorld."