Zoo Visitors are Strange
I work as an “Animal Interpreter” for the local zoo. My job is to choose an exhibit and tell people about the animals there. I share interesting facts, explain misconceptions and basically just act friendly with the visitors. This is my second year doing so, and I wanted to share some of the strangest things I’ve seen or heard about.
•One young lady, a stereotypical White Girl™, complained to me that the red pandas weren’t getting enough exercise. Red pandas are active at dawn and dusk, and ours prefer to play out of human sight. I explained this to her, and she told me that in the wild, our red pandas would be running 100,000 miles a day in search of food. Bullshit. Oh, and the kicker? This animal rights chick was wearing sheepskin shoes!
•Twice I’ve been mistaken for a boy. I’m a cis female with a VERY feminine face, and the only thing masculine about me is my flat chest.
•My favourite place to work is with the snakes. I have a bit of a humourus speech about how snakes are rather similar to humans in that they only want to sleep, be warm, be left alone and eat. This usually goes over well and makes people laugh, but it got a little weird when a middle-aged man (with his wife right there!) said “sounds like my brother-in-law…if snakes were neo-Nazis”, and then jokingly invited me to his family reunion. He was nice and he wasn’t very creepy or anything, but how the fuck do I respond to that?!
•It’s not uncommon for people to point at an ostrich egg and ask if it’s a zebra egg. We also get asked if our lorikeets are anamotronic, and if the sloth in the aviary is plastic.
•One man- a middle aged man with a child!- decided that our fruit bats weren’t flying enough and started POUNDING on the glass. He did the same thing to one of our boas a few seconds later. What the fuck??!
•I’ve been asked multiple times if I handle our anaconda. Our anaconda is 14-16 feet long and about 220 or so pounds. I’m five foot four and weigh 110 pounds, and I’m incredibly scrawny, not to mention the fact that he’s, you know, a giant fucking constrictor snake. Why would you think I’m his handler?
•There are wild geese living on our grounds. Guests often try to pet them or pick up the goslings, and a lot of them let their children chase the geese. Most of them get confused or angry when we tell them to leave the geese alone.
•Apparently last year, security was called because a “naked two year old was chasing the geese”. I have no idea how that happened.
•And on a final and just amusing note, one gentleman described Eastern Diamondbacks as “eight feet of NOPE!”. He was a pleasure to talk to, quite nice and listened well.