My Little Monkey

| MI, USA | Friendly | August 26, 2016

(I’ve taken my children to the zoo. We’re standing in front of the ring-tailed lemur exhibit. My four-year-old daughter is very familiar with this animal thanks to the TV show “Wild Kratts,” which dedicated several episodes to lemurs. Another family approaches.)

Mom: *from other family* “Look, Tyler, it’s a monkey.”

Four-Year-Old: “Actually, it’s a lemur.”

Mom: “No, sweetie, it’s a monkey. Just look at it.”

Four-Year-Old: “It’s a ring tailed lemur, and it’s not a monkey. It’s from Madagascar.”

Mom: *to me* “Kids are so cute when they think they know everything.”

Me: “So are adults. You should read the sign.”

Mom: “Hm? Oh, it’s a… ring tailed… Look over there, a parrot!”

Four-Year-Old: “That’s a cockatoo.”

(I love my little know-it-all.)

Preparing Meals That Are Works Of Art

| Wales, UK | Working | April 27, 2016

(I and two other keepers are in our keeper kitchen preparing feeds ready to go, and get started on our morning routines. I’m chopping some vegetables quickly and a piece of cabbage falls on the floor. Keeper #1 walks passed me.)

Keeper #1: “There’s cabbage on the floor.”

Keeper #2: “A poem, by [Keeper #1].”

(At this point, we all start laughing. Keeper #1 is laughing so hard that she’s just standing there in tears, unable to do anything except hold a pot of mealworms she’d made up earlier. After a few minutes we manage to stop, but Keeper #1 is still laughing.)

Me: “I think this is still part of the poem.”

Keeper #2: “It’s performance art. I don’t know what the mealworms are meant to represent though.”

Reading: What Separates Us From The Animals

| Seattle, WA, USA | Friendly | December 29, 2015

(I am visiting the zoo with my family when we decide to visit the Nocturnal House, a building that is kept fairly dark to encourage nocturnal animals to be active. Each exhibit has a picture of the animals in it along with a description of their native habitat. I’m looking at one such exhibit with fairly active animals when a woman and her daughter comes into the corridor where I’m standing. She turns to her daughter with a haughty tone of voice and describes the animals incorrectly. The daughter had noticed the descriptions and tries to correct her mom and is shot down. I don’t care if adults are ignorant but to be rude to her child and incorrect to boot…)

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am, but your child is correct. These are actually [Correct Animal].”

Mother: *snidely* “So who are you, a zoo expert?”

Me: “No, I can read.”

You Make Me Zoo-icidal

| Santa Barbara, CA, USA | Working | December 17, 2015

(I just finished paying for tickets to ride a little train that goes around the zoo.)

Cashier: “And here’s your change… You have a zoo-per day!”

Me: “Did… you just…?”

Cashier: “My zoo-pervisor says I have to.”

Bird Brained, Part 11

| USA | Right | November 27, 2015

(I have just bought four cups of nectar to feed the rainbow lorikeets at the zoo. After finding a somewhat calm place to stand, I make no indication I notice the birds and am soon covered in them. The birds are only going towards the adults and older (quieter) kids. The younger kids start coming over to me trying to get birds to jump onto them and drink out of their cups.)

Kid: “You’ve got so many birds! I want one!”

Me: “Here, just stand next to me and don’t move. They’ll come right over!”

(He stands next to me but squeals every time a bird comes near him and scares it away. Then his mom comes over.)

Mom: “Oh, wow! You have so many birds with you! Can you pass one to my son?”

Me: “I’ll try, but the birds don’t like noise. If he can stand still and quiet they’ll land on him.”

(I try to pass a bird to the kids hand but it jumps back to mine.)

Mom: “Stop hogging all the birds! This is really unfair to the kids!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’ve just been standing here. The birds are coming to me.”

Mom: “So you should be passing them to the kids, then! This is a zoo! This is a place for CHILDREN, not immature adults!”

Me: “You’re being very rude. I’ve already tried passing the birds off but it’s not my fault if they don’t want to sit with them. The zoo is a place for anyone to enjoy, not just kids.”

(She doesn’t respond but starts trying to grab birds off of me or shoo them away. One of them starts squawking and bites her.)

Mom: “Ugh! This zoo is atrocious! How dare they have such untrained, disgusting animals allowed to hurt people!”

(She stormed off to complain to a zookeeper.)

 

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