If you ask any kid what they want to do when they grow up, there’s a pretty good chance they’d be interested in working at the zoo. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by animals all day?
However, while the debate over whether animals should ever be kept in cages continues, a group of zookeepers have been lifting the lid on what really goes on behind closed doors.
When a Reddit user asked, “What’s the low-down, dirty, inside scoop on zoos?” we don’t think anyone was really ready for what they revealed.
We’ve all read news stories about zoos being forced to close for the day because of an escaped animal, but it turns out animals escape far more frequently than we ever hear about.
“If any animal escapes before the zoo opens to the public, the zoo is supposed to shut down completely for the day,” one Reddit user explained.
“Often, though, smaller zoos can’t afford to lose a day open to the public, so if some specific types of animals escape, such as reptiles or small animals, they will just stay open while having keepers look for the animal.”
They went on to say they had even heard from co-workers that the zoo boss had forced staff to open when a “small but somewhat venomous snake was on the loose.” Yikes.
And, if you’ve ever been to visit the adorable baby chicks in the incubators then we’re afraid your day is about to be ruined.
“One of our most popular exhibits was this incubator with baby chicks. We were told to tell visitors that the older baby chicks would be sent to schools as classroom pets or to the petting zoo,” a zoo worker explained.
“In reality, we did send the chicks to the zoo… as live animal feed for the snakes and other carnivores.” Seriously, day = ruined.
Another zoo worker recalled a time when his zoo was forced to close the baboon exhibit because a poor mother baboon had a stillbirth, prompting staff to tell visitors the troupe were “grieving.”
But, in actual fact, they had no choice but to close the exhibit because “they were throwing parts of the infant corpse around and there was nothing we could do about it.”
Meanwhile, another zookeeper came forward with a shocking claim related to death of a white tiger, which was reported to have died from natural causes.
The keeper, who kept the zoo anonymous, said they’d been told there had actually been a problem with the electric fencing which surrounded the tiger’s enclosure, but “the zoo managers refused to pay to get it fixed, thinking it would be fine.
“He was electrocuted to death a few weeks after they had found the problem,” the Reddit user claimed.
“They covered the whole thing by saying they weren’t sure how he died, but that he was old. It’s still a zoo secret to this day.”
Elsewhere, other zookeepers revealed secrets about tortoises trying to make love to cleaning buckets and camels spitting at humans who get on their nerves.
Still want to work at the zoo, kids?