22 Secrets Zookeepers Will Never Tell You

We deal with A LOT of poo.

1. You spend so much time dealing with poo that it really doesn’t phase you anymore.

Talking about it while eating your sandwiches at lunch is totally normal.

2. And you will wipe absolutely anything on your trousers.

You zoo uniform has seen some bad things.

3. Working in the bat cave means you’ll have to wash your hair that night.

It’s because they poo and wee on your head, a lot.

4. And giant ant eaters do the worst-smelling poos.

Flickr: leftymgp / Creative Commons

But we’re even used to that.

5. We love it when it snows because it means we can’t pick up poo because we can’t see it.

And the red pandas love it too!

6. Meerkats might look adorable, but they can bite though leather gloves.

If you need to pick up a meerkat, be prepared to lose some blood.

7. Owls will probably attack you during breeding season.

8. Penguins have serrated beaks: And will use them if you come too close during nesting season.

9. But it’s not all poo and getting bitten, we spend a lot of our time making food puzzles to keep our animals busy.

It’s important to make our animals work for their food occasionally.

10. And if an animal is unwell we’ll help the vets look after it.

11. We talk to our animals all the time.

We mainly do it for us, but with some animals who have poor eyesight it also helps keep them calm and lets them know where we are.

12. A good, working wheel barrow is absolutely essential for doing our job.

13. And new rake day is better than Christmas.

Flickr: mliu92 / Creative Commons

14. We hear “that’s a funny looking animal” at least 10 times a day, and it doesn’t get any funnier.

We get it, we’re in the cage and we’re a human, now go look at a porcupine or something.

15. If people tap on the glass while we’re in an enclosure we’ll pretend we can’t hear them.

Otherwise we’ll spend our whole day waving through some glass.

16. And overhearing people get a sub-species’ name wrong really annoys us.

We know it’s silly to expect everyone to know as much as us, but it’s still irritating.

17. If people are making too much noise we will scream at them to be quiet.

Which means that we make even more noise, but hopefully it will result in some peace for our animals.

18. Sometimes we kind of want to take the baby animals home with us.

But we know we can’t. In fact we touch them as little as possible so their mother can bond with them naturally.

19. We often name our animals based on the countries they’re native to.

They might get a human name that’s common there, or be named after a river or mountain in that country.

20. But warty pigs tend to be named after punk rock stars.

When a pig has a mohawk like that you have to call it Sid Vicious.

21. The best part of our job is being greeted by an animal that knows you and loves you.

Even if it’s mainly because we’re carrying their food.

22. We spend more time with our animals than with our family and friends.

But we wouldn’t have it any other way.

BuzzFeed talked to Lucy Edwards, a keeper at Chester Zoo to learn all the zookeeper secrets.

Find out even more zoo facts on The Secret Life of the Zoo, Tuesday 2nd February at 8pm on Channel 4.

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

Flo Perry is an editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
 
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