There’s always one.
Zoo keepers nominated the animal that acted like the biggest jerks in their facility. They still love the rascals. Just they can be..well..jerks.
From cuddly wannabe murderers to accomplished escape artists, meet the jerks of the animal kingdom.
A hand-raised wallaby named Wallace Montgomery. He was hand-raised (translation: f**king psycho) and then given to us when he became a wee bit overwhelming for his previous caretaker.
Feeding time? Prepare to be be gouged by his razor sharp nails, bit on your softest parts, and the bowl WILL be knocked out of your hands.
Cleaning time? He will grab your rake and shovel, hit you with them, and kick you when you bend down to pick up your stuff.
Trying to give him fresh straw to sleep on? Nope. He shredded the bag it came in. He kicked the fresh straw into the yard. He picked up the dirty pissy straw and rubbed it all over you.
I love him immensely. Fun fact: if you pick him up mid-tantrum, he will lay his head on your shoulder and give you three solid minutes of snuggles before recommencing your attempted murder.
One time at Busch Gardens, I noticed that the (then) two female orangutans had acquired some materials: several sticks and some t-shirts. I imagine the shirts were for enrichment or something.
Anyway, these two ladies had torn the t-shirts into approximately inch-wide strips, and were clearly assembling a raft design with the sticks. See, their enclosure was surrounded by a moat, and I think they had figured out that this was their best shot at making a break for it.
Meanwhile, the male orangutan had taken another t-shirt, and put just his head through the neck-hole. He hadn’t put the shirt on; instead, he had it draped over his head and he would lift up the bottom hem and play peek-a-boo with the tourists.
The female Orangutan in question is named Luna, and I think she has successfully escaped at least twice.
They have at the centre arguably the world’s most famous honey badger, called Stoffel. Now I am sure none of you need an introduction to how f**king savage these animals are, but this particular bastard has actually featured on multiple TV shows because of his antics.
In the first few years of his life at the centre, he dug his way into the Lion enclosure TWICE and attacked the alpha male of the pride both times. When he kept digging his way under the wall of his enclosure, it had to be rebuilt 2 metres deeper into the soil. When he opened up cracks in the concrete and escaped, those had to be covered with metal sheet. When he used rocks/sticks to create a tower and climb over the wall, they removed them… only for him to steal a zookeeper’s broom and climb out using that.
I know many more stories of his antics, but my favourite is how after years of living on his own they decided to find him a female companion to join him in the enclosure. First thing Stoffel did?
Stood on her head and used her to climb over the wall.
THIS ONE F**KING OCTOPUS.
I was volunteering at an aquarium in the cephalopod section. One day the power was out, so we were on backup generators and we were running all over to make sure everything necessary to keep the animals alive was still running. The tanks where we kept the giant pacific octopuses (these octopuses are about 8 or 9 feet across) didn’t have a solid top to close it up – instead the top portion of the tank is covered by astroturf. Octopus suckers can’t work on astroturf, so they can’t climb out. In theory.
This bitch jams herself into the water outtake in her tank while no one is paying attention. Water keeps going in, but none can get out. She makes a f**king waterfall out of the tank and tries to ride it to freedom. We caught her just after she flopped onto the floor.
They’re just too f**king smart.
Right now it’s the short tailed leaf nosed fruit bat.
I’m an intern in a well known zoo. We have a wet cave filled with probably 1000 of these f**kers. The door is surrounded by a wire cage. When we go to feed them we just let the door open and let the bats fly in the cage. When we leave we have to heard them into the cave. As an intern I’m not allowed to touch them. So I put my hand up by them to guide them.
Except they don’t like that and they’ll fly right in my face and hover there for a few minutes.
One day I was by myself doing it and one of the little f**kers would not get in the damn cave. I stood there for like 10 minutes doing jazz fingers and he just hung there.
As for favourites…raccoons are pretty awesome, especially the babies. The thing is, you can’t go into their cages wearing anything unnecessary/easily removed.
You would not believe how agile their little hands are…they will undo buttons, unzip zippers, unbuckle belts…can’t count the number of times I had to chase one down to get my glasses back. And you got pretty used to doing your work with a raccoon on your shoulder, a raccoon hanging from your belt, a raccoon clinging to your ankle…
Elephants. Elephants are basically one ton toddlers. Three year olds that can murder you during a tantrum… the one there would get upset if you didn’t say good morning to her. She threw a rock at a night watchman for not saying hi, broke his ribs…
She once shattered the windshield to the hay truck with a rock because it drove too fast past her enclosure. She threw a log at a keeper because they were cleaning up branches after a storm and didn’t notice her trying to help and hand them one…. so she threw it at them.
She got mad one day after her friend passed away from old age and tried to throw a keeper through the fence…. Basically, elephants are just hyper-emotional three year olds with a mean streak…
Monkeys definitively, a while ago we had a little capuchin monkey who learned how to leave his enclosement and went at night to sip some whiskey from a nearby apartment.
It happened for quite some time since he always returned back before we noticed.
He was caught when he become to greedy and entered the kitchen to grab some snacks
And this one is a surprise
So no one here will believe me but….Literally Harambe.
About a year ago I interned at the Cincinnati zoo in the primate department. I helped prep diets, clean enclosures, develop and deploy enrichment etc. I didn’t get to work directly with gorillas because they were deemed too dangerous for non-employees but I walked by their enclosures often and could see them through the housing. We had two family groups, one usually hung outside for part of the day and when they came in, the other would go out.
Well Harambe was in a group with two females and he usually was separate from them when they were indoors and hung out at the far end of the indoor enclosure. Well I had to walk by his enclosure to get to another animals’ to clean it and EVERY SINGLE TIME I walked by his enclosure he would charge the enclosure door closest to me and slam it with his fists. Every goddamn time. Scared the s*** out me every time.
Apparently he came from a zoo where the keepers were less than kind and they were all guys so he associated guys with bad memories. A good portion of keepers at Cinci Zoo were ladies so he loved them just fine.
Harambe liked to charge every time I walked by and scare the piss out of me. Probably not an actual a**hole but a product of bad experiences.
Siobhan O’Shea is a freelance writer. She writes about pretty much everything but especially likes to bring readers’ attention to new tech, marketing, human behavior, and other oddities.