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  • As Sick As A Parrot

    | New York City, NY, USA | Family & Kids, Health & Body, Pets & Animals

    (My friend is a small-mammal handler at a zoo. Today, she’s taken a particularly docile ferret out to let visitors encounter it first-hand. A couple comes in with a young child. I’m standing in the background.)

    Mother: “Ooh, look, the zoo lady’s got a baby raccoon!”

    Father: “That’s some sort of weasel!”

    Child: “Mom, I wanna see the octopus.”

    Mother: “Let’s go see the nice lady with the raccoon.”

    Father: “Weasel.”

    (The mother gives the father a look and then approaches my friend.)

    Mother: “‘Excuse me, miss, what kind of animal is that?”

    Friend: “This is a ferret. Her name is [Name] and she’s very friendly. You can pet her if you take care to avoid—”

    Father: “Parrot!? That’s a weasel!”

    Friend: “It’s a ferret. They’re in the weasel family, like—”

    Father: “You sure?”

    Friend: “Yes, very sure. Ferrets are among—”

    Father: “Let’s go see the octopus, [Child].”

    (They leave in a hurry. Curious, I follow them outside.)

    Father: “D*** thing must have been sick. Pretty irresponsible of them to expose us to a sick parrot.”

    Child: “Ferret.”

    Father: “We just saw the parrot. I thought you wanted to see the octopus.”

    Child: “Daddy, is your hearing aid on?”

    Hasn’t Read The Risks On The Web

    | Greenville, SC, USA | Family & Kids, Pets & Animals

    (Some friends and I volunteer for a local charity event at the zoo. We are in superhero costumes since the zoo is filled with daycare-age children that want to see their favorite superheroes. I am costumed as Spider-Man.)

    Mother: “Excuse me, Spider-Man? My son is a huge fan of yours!”

    (The mother points to a child covered in Spider-Man merchandise, from his hat to his shoes.)

    Me: “Well, hey. Always great to meet a fan! Does he want a picture?”

    Mother: “Well, actually, I was wondering if you could do me a favor.”

    Me: “Well, sure. What do you need?”

    Mother: “Well, my son really wants to go into the insect and arachnid enclosure, but I’m terrified of spiders. Would you be able to take him in there? He would trust you.”

    Me: “Ma’am, did you just ask me, a guy you don’t know, to take your child into a dark, enclosed room? You don’t even know what I look like under this mask.”

    (The mother gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look and then walked away. Surprisingly, she came back 10 minutes later and had her son get a picture with me!)

    The Dumbest Of The Animals

    | UK | Extra Stupid, Pets & Animals

    (I work in a gift shop in a zoo. We have a drive-around area, and all guests are given a map on the way in.)

    Guest: “Hi, I was wondering if you could help.”

    Me: “Sure, what’s up?”

    Guest: *pointing to the map* “Is this bit all in your car?”

    Me: “Yup, you have to drive round that bit and stay in your vehicle.”

    Guest: “So this bit is on foot?”

    Me: “Yes.”

    Guest: “Do you have to stick to the path or can you walk anywhere in this bit?”

    Me: “I wouldn’t advise it, as the polar bears have access to all this area, and the tigers have access to all that area.”

    Guest: “Oh… that was a really stupid question wasn’t it?”

    Dying For Some Pie

    | PA, USA | Crazy Requests, Family & Kids, Food & Drink

    (It’s the annual Halloween event. I am dressed as Mrs. Lovett from Sweeney Todd, but since the younger kids I watch haven’t seen the movie, I try to explain my costume in a way they can understand.)

    Little Boy: “Why do you have a fake knife? What are you?”

    Me: “I’m dressed as a lady who makes people into pies.”

    Little Boy: “That’s awesome! I wanna make people into pies! Can you make me into a pie? I wanna eat myself!”

    Me: *laughing* “Go down the slide first, then we’ll talk.”

    Acting Like A Total Wallaby

    | Belgium | Pets & Animals

    (My husband and I are visiting an amazing zoo in Belgium that was built on the site of an old estate. In addition to being beautiful, the zoo is relatively open and interactive: you can get up close and personal with many of the animals where safety allows. My husband and I, from the States, are marvelling at the small ditches or rows of bushes where fences and walls would normally be.)

    Me: “This is incredible! They don’t have anything like this back home!”

    My Husband: “Yeah, but you know why, right? Some idiot would see one of the exhibits and immediately think, ‘Dude, I can totally jump that ditch and play with the animals’. Maybe they just have more sense than that here.”

    (Later, I am asking an employee about feeding times and mention what my husband had said.)

    Employee: “Oh, no. We have people like that here, too. Mostly children, but they don’t do much harm. The worst is when it’s an adult. We had a fellow who got drunk and jumped into the kangaroo exhibit and began harassing the animals.”

    Me: “Jeez, what happened?”

    Employee: “Well, our dominant male took offense to him bothering his consort, so he pinned him down and kicked him.”

    Me: “Holy cow! What did you do?”

    Employee: “We let him.”

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