Being locked in our houses, not going out nor doing the social things we would usually do, our quarantine life closely reassembles living in the zoo. At the same time, the animals are still in the zoos and taken care of, but without any visitors. Only the zookeepers are there, feeding all the cute animals we adore.
Someone thought about this and started wondering about our friends from the zoo and their life now. How are the animals reacting to the change, living in zoos without visitors? This question was posted on AskReddit and has some 73.7K upvotes. The results are rather surprising. While some animals are enjoying the peace and quiet, others genuinely miss all the attention they were getting. 1.
One of our emus loves everyone and makes friends with any new keepers who visit him, and so by extension loves having guests around. With the zoo being closed, he became quite morose for a few days, not acting anything like his usually happy self, because all the new friends he makes everyday were gone. So his keepers began asking people from other departments to stop by, take pictures, point him out, basically act like he’s the center of attention. The hilarious little diva has been loving it 2.
Most of our animals are more relaxed then they are with big crowds, or are acting mostly like they usually do. We have 2 bears that like to people watch, so they’re definitely missing that source of entertainment, but are otherwise pretty normal. The biggest difference is that our pair of bald eagles mated for the first time in the decade that they’ve been housed together. We don’t intentionally breed our animals, so there isn’t a good nesting spot in their enclosure but they just scraped out a divot and laid 2 eggs in it! However, neither are incubating the eggs, and we don’t have breeding permits for them so we can’t keep the eggs 🙁 Very unpopular with our visitors. The geese that nest on the property are also getting extra territorial and threatening us keepers a lot more. 3.
Our pandas are finally banging. 4.
Bird keeper here: the penguins weren’t sure it was really feeding time if no one was watching them… they’re a little bit exhibitionists. (Especially Hubig/Ocio. They’ve been caught going at it in front of the windows during public hours and then basically avoiding each other when we’re closed…) After a few days they adjusted. 5.
At my zoo, the capuchins can’t have bamboo sticks because they stab it through the bars at guests. Guess who is now free to stab as much as they want now? 6.
Our city zoo is closed for visitors. However all the routine feeding activities are in place. Looks like some animals found it weird that there are no people around. The other day a fully grown white tiger started jumping like a puppy when he saw a few of us after two weeks of solitude.. that was a scene! 7.
I’m an aquarium keeper, and I’ve certainly noticed a change. Fish are not as stressed as they use to be, as there are no longer children stomping around and banging on glass screaming “NEMO, NEMO, ITS NEMO” at every clownfish. We brought some of our younger penguins down to let them watch the fish, and they were intrigued but confused as to why they couldn’t catch them through the glass. Our octopus has become much more friendly as well, and instead of hiding all day from people, enjoys playing with small baby toys or solving food puzzles. Its been nice. I wish there were guidelines people had to sign to behave at zoos before entering, but at the same time, they are the lifeline we so desperately need to keep functioning. 8.
Our gorillas miss the people watching so they get a tv with movies set up for them, plus lots of extra enrichment 9.
I work at a very well known and heavily visited zoo. I work with ambassador animals and it’s nice to get a chance to take animals to areas of the zoo they wouldn’t normally get a chance to go to because of traffic etc. BUT, the free ranging geese man…. they are getting mean and territorial. Literal bridge trolls. They might have the hardest time adjusting when all the people come back and they can’t control every pathway! 10.
As a zookeeper coordinator I’ve been working at the now closed zoo almost every day for the past month. Animals that are free roaming (peacocks, iguanas) are more active, and follow keepers around like they usually do with visitors. Most of the others don’t show much change in behavior. Although birds like swans and flamingos are using the edges of their habitats more.