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    Zookeepers Are Sharing The Disturbing Secrets Of Zoos, And It's Sad Yet Fascinating

    "The most dangerous and feared animal in case of an escape is not, as you may think, lions, tigers, or other large carnivores."

    Recently, Reddit user u/gomi-panda asked, "Zookeepers, what's the low-down, dirty, inside scoop on zoos?" People who have worked in zoos came through with some behind-the-scenes facts that are both sad and fascinating at the same time.

    Man showing several little kids giraffes behind a fence

    Here's some of what they said:

    1. "Be careful walking by the open-air monkey enclosures, because poop isn't the only thing they'll fling at you — they'll also throw semen."


    2. "Some people like to bring fruit and stuff to throw into the animals' cages, even though they're not supposed to. If you're around and someone throws a pineapple into the gorilla or chimpanzee dens, GTFO. They will throw that thing full blast at someone. I saw a man get hit full force right in the side of the head and he was lights out. Pineapple exploded on impact. Paramedics came and everything."


    A gorilla sitting on the grass with a baby gorilla

    3. "The number of dumbasses who complain to management about paying to go to the zoo, then not seeing any animals, is unreal! Like, what do you want us to do? Go in there with sticks and chase them out of their hidey-holes?! Sorry, buddy, not going to happen."


    4. "I had to draft the zoo's contingency plan for all sorts of emergencies. Flood, tornado, extreme heat, war or attacks, you name it. The plan included a prioritized list of which animals in the collection we would have to sacrifice to feed to the other animals in extreme situations. I literally created a zoo food chain. Humans were left off the list entirely."


    5. "Lions know full well that they can't get through the glass. They do that just to get attention."


    A lion lying on the grass behind glass being watched by two young children

    6. "If you work with the animals, there's a good chance you'll not be able to have any kind of social life, between the long hours/weekends and the stench. I've been kicked out of stores after work because I apparently stank way worse than I thought I did — even after scrubbing off!"


    7. "Animal husbandry has improved a lot. But I remember working with a group of chimps, and one of the old chimps would masturbate while staring at me as I cleaned the outside of the enclosure."


    8. "Monkeys will, in fact, try to have sex with a female human if there is an opportunity to. The more you know."


    9. "Dead zoo animals are sometimes fed to carnivores."


    A tiger gnawing on a large, bloody bone

    10. "There was one particularly traumatic event with the lions on a very warm and very packed spring day. The zoo was inside a large park, so various wild animals wandered through the zoo all day. One unfortunate day, a large deer fell into the lion enclosure. The adolescent male stalked it and ran it down within about 30 seconds and tore the deer to shreds. In front of dozens of horrified adults and screaming kids. I felt kind of bad that so many people saw, but, like, circle of life."


    11. "The dolphin trainers are stuck up. They are like the jocks in high school. They usually try to stay in shape because wetsuits aren’t flattering. They perform daily and people love them, so they have an ego."


    A person standing next to a number of dolphins in the water

    12. "I worked in the zoo's restaurant. The one thing that even low-level cashiers learned was the 'Mr. Wallaby' code. The manager on duty in each department carried a walkie-talkie, and if an animal ever escaped, the code to announce its location was, 'Mr. Wallaby, please meet Mr. [Escaped Animal] at [animal's location].' I kinda hoped we'd have one with a small, harmless animal that would be easy to catch again, just to see the excitement. Making chicken salad sandwiches all day got a little monotonous."


    13. "Next time you go to the zoo, ask someone which animals are 'kill on sight' in an escape. The answers will surprise you. Lions and tigers are typically on the 'tranq and capture' list, but a jaguar the size of a golden retriever is 'KoS.' The zoo I was with, the two jags were the only animals on site that were on the shoot-to-kill list. Even the silverback was on the tranq-first list."


    14. "The most dangerous and feared animal in case of an escape is not, as you may think, lions, tigers, or other large carnivores. It's the chimps. Those things will rip your arm off and beat you to death with the bloody end as soon as they look at you."


    15. "Those free-roaming peacocks are really stupid and sometimes go in the lions' exhibit and get torn up."


    A peacock standing on a paved road

    16. "Some zoos intentionally put chickens in enclosures with nonpredatory animals, as they go around eating pests/bugs all day, which keeps the other animal happier."


    And lastly:

    17. "I'm a small-animal vet now but worked in a zoo before vet school. Zoos are one of the biggest purchasers of Calvin Klein's Obsession cologne. The cologne has animal musk in it, and it drives the big cats wild. We used to spray it on everything."


    What do y'all think of these fun/not-so-fun facts? Let me know in the comments below!

    Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.