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Top Ten Things Not To Do When Visiting the Zoo

Here is the 40th installment of Ten Top Lists of What Not to Do by Marie Ann Bailey of 1WriteWay at and John W. Howell of Fiction Favorites at These lists are simu-published on our blogs each Monday. We hope you enjoy.

10. When visiting the zoo, do not try to get the chimpanzees’ attention by throwing popcorn at them. At best, they will simply pick up the popcorn and eat it and continue to ignore you. At worst, they will reciprocate by flinging some dark smelly stuff back at you, causing you and the family to have an uncomfortable ride home, with your shirt covered in chimp poop.

9. When visiting the zoo, do not think that just because the Siberian Leopard kitten is fast asleep, you can simply reach through the bars and scratch its adorable furry little head. At best, you might simply bruise your arm as you jerk it back when you hear the kitten’s mother’s roar. At worst, the kitten will wake up and decide to play tug-of-war with your arm while mama gets closer and closer snarling the whole way .

8. When visiting the zoo, do not throw things into the elephant exhibit just because you think it is fun to watch elephants pick things up with their trunks. At best, you will be reprimanded by the zoo staff and told to leave the zoo. At worst, you will be told to pick up all the trash in the elephant exhibit, which might take a very long time since the elephants never forget a litter bug and might think it is fun to pick you up with their trunks.

7. When visiting the zoo, do not try and mimic the Lemurs as they run through their exhibit, catapulting themselves through the air and landing upright on trees. At best, your efforts will result in some embarrassment and bark rash from you ungracefully sliding down a tree that you tried to leap onto. At worst, the tree you leapt onto will turn out to be inside the Lemur exhibit, causing the Lemurs to see you as a predator and mob you until you are rescued by zoo staff.

6. When visiting the zoo, do not sneak in a pair of roller skates because you made a bet with your best friend that you can get through all the exhibits within an hour. At best, you will only draw the ire of the other zoo visitors, as they have to jump out of your way to avoid being run over by you. At worst, you might take one of the downhill paths too fast and find yourself nose-to-nose with a rhinoceros in its wading pool at feeding time.

5. When visiting the zoo, do not tap on the glass of the Goliath birdeater exhibit, thinking you can coax the tarantula to where you can see it better. At best, the tarantula will just hunker down even more and zoo staff will be compelled to ask you to leave. At worst, before making you leave, the staff will insist that you clean the cage of the birdeater, blindfolded with peanut butter on your fingers.

4. When visiting the zoo, do not try to entice a crocodile to open its mouth by holding food out over the fence. At best, the croc will simply ignore you since it probably is more interested in the Pekinese that someone snuck in. At worst, the croc will leap up and forward to get your hand as well as the treat in it, causing you to dislocate your shoulder as you try to get out of the way without falling over the fence and into the croc’s open mouth.

3. When visiting the zoo, do not think yelling at bears is a good and effective way to get their attention and make them active. At best, you will simply annoy the other zoo visitors until someone wads up a paper bag and stuffs in your mouth. At worst, after stuffing the paper bag in your mouth, the other zoo visitors band together and toss you over into the bear exhibit, causing such a commotion that the bears then wake up and become active thinking you to be a member of a rival clan.

2. When visiting the zoo, do not think that you can hide out until after the zoo closes because you always wanted to see the zoo at night. At best, you might become very bored very quickly because most of the animals are also done for the night and curled away in their beds. At worst, you try to entertain yourself by climbing trees, pretending to be a monkey until you realize, much too late, that you’ve flung yourself into the lion exhibit and, since they hunt at night, they are all wide awake and waiting for you.

1. When visiting the zoo, do not try and pretend you are a member of the zoo staff just so you can arrange a close encounter with the zoo’s mascot, a yellow reticulated python named Lemondrop. At best, you will be found out because you have to keep looking at your badge to remember the name of staff from whom you stole the uniform. At worst, you get your close encounter with Lemondrop who turns out to like you so much, the python can’t help but take you into its burrow to give you a big hug.

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Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

24 replies

    1. Yup, people don’t realize how fast they can be either. I’ve crossed paths with alligators at our local refuge. They’re fascinating but I prefer them to stay on the other side of the bayou 😉


  1. When I read the title, I knew it would be hilarious…you did not disappoint, Marie! I think I’d rather be in the mall after closing hours verses the zoo! Happy Monday!


  2. Good morning Marie. On the subject of Alligators I was playing golf at the PGA Sheraton in Florida and my ball landed next to some water. By the time I got to it an Alligator was waiting (I think he figured out some stupid prey would come after the ball). Needless to say my partners made me take a stroke or play the ball. My choice. Yes I took a stroke. (Mrs. Howell didn’t raise a kid who was as dumb as he looks). Great list.


    1. Oh, my, I’ve heard of alligators popping up on golf courses. I’m glad you went for the stroke. Otherwise, you would have had to learn to play golf with one arm 😉


  3. Hah, very cute! Staying late is my favorite. It reminds me of “From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”!


  4. And don’t act like a know-it-all around the tortoises. They’ve lived through everything you’ve lived through. And your parents. And your parents’ parent. They remember when your great grandmother was a baby. They voted for Roosevelt. Teddy.


  5. How timely! I may be going to the Bronx Zoo this coming Sunday! My daughter is visiting Fordham again and we haven’t been! Thank goodness I read this list! Phew! 🙂


    1. Somehow I don’t think you would be guilty of anything on this list, but it’s always good to be prepared 🙂 I hope you have a fun trip to the zoo!


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