Animals Breaking Into Zoos.

I was in Barcelona last weekend and went to the zoo. It surprised me to notice a cat with litter holed-up in a rocky area inside the rhino pit. I kept seeing cats in other enclosed areas of the zoo some with animals and some without.

I will assume that this happens in other zoos also. Has anyone else ever noticed this type of thing? What’s the biggest animal to break into a zoo and has anyone ever witnessed a scrap between an invader and a zoo animal before?

Also if anyone is familiar with Barcelona zoo what are the chances of the elephants tripping into the waterless moat in their area? I watched them stretch a fair bit over the gap and couldn’t help thinking that if they fell in they would be stuck till a crane arrived.

A. Last July a fox broke into the Bald Eagle’s cage at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and killed him.
On the 4th of July.

A friend turned to me and said “How can that be anything but a bad omen of a bad year for America.” I thought it was actually the omen of the start of a good year for the fox who I would never have guessed had the chops to take down an Eagle.

B. When I was a kid, it was quite common to see at least 1-2 rats or mice per trip to the National Zoo – in broad day light race by with 20 feet of people. It is much more rare now – but last year 2 red pandas died because rat poison had been left in their yard.

C. The National Zoo has a huge open air aviary where the birds fly free inside a building and giant outside net among the exotic Blah-blah birds there are always (local birds) sparrows, starlings, grackles etc. who have found thioer way to paradise (or at least it beats fighting for dropped French fires at Mickey D’s.)

When I was on vacation in Cancun, Mexico I went to a zoo there and noticed a few cats who had wandered into the zoo… And then a zookeeper would just grab the cat(s) and put them in a net and presumably threw them out.

IIRC, at the Edmonton, Canada zoo a black lab broke into the tiger cage. He was the alpha personality, and the two 300-500 pound (150-250 kg for you metric folk) tigers would always get out of the way so he could have his favorite spot. They all got along, so the keepers left him in there. This was 25 years ago, so I’m sure he’s gone now.

Tell your friend that there is only one kind of bird that provides accurate omens.

The Pigeon.

You never heard of an Omen Pigeon? :smiley:

BTW–the cats at the zoo probably provide a valuable service in keeping down rats & mice. And living in the cage with the rhinos discourages anything that might kill the kittens from getting too close.

And I’ve heard of a gorilla named Coco that adopted a cat that snuck into its cage.

And something similar involving an elephant & a dog.


Sorry to be thick…but is this supposed to be a pun of some sort? I’m trying to run the words “omen pigeon” through my mind, and it’s not returning anything.




Umm…why do you ask?

Homing pigeons.

Btw is there no ‘quote’ button anymore? I cannot find it.

Use the “reply” button at the bottom of each post, not the “Post Reply” button at the bottom of the thread.

A couple of years ago, I was at the San Diego Wild Animal Park . This zoo has large (30-90acre) enclosures, with a variety of animals wandering around. We were told that they frequently get the local deer jumping the fence to get into the nice safe, well stocked cages.

The surrounding greenspace that gives Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo its name is home to a rather large warren of rabbits, which make regular forays onto the zoo grounds. It’s quite amusing to watch the snow leopards spaz out when an adorably ambulatory lunch hops up to their fence and twitches its nose at them.

Probably not a surprise to anyone, but…

I was recently at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and every single friggin’ animal pen had ducks in them.

The chlorinated pool at the resort had ducks.

The Disney people really need to give Donald the spotlight over Mickey – they already have more live ducks than mouse ears in the parks.


You’re not thinking of Koko, are you?

Bosda that remark about crickets wouldn’t happen to be an allusion to the Richard Matheson short story would it?


Hmmm? :confused:


I’ve seen rats and native birds raiding the duck food in the lake.
Heard third hand that dogs used to break in and kill Patagonian Cavys.

When I was a kid I saw a squirrel living as a prairie dog in the prarie dog enclosure. It was kinda cool. There was a big tree next to the enclosure so it was presumed that the squirrel fell in as a baby or something.

The squirrel would go underground with the prairie dogs and as the only “prairie dog” who could climb, he did his turn at “guard duty” standing atop the “do not feed the animals” sign.

It was neat, they’d all stand on guard duty, and if it weren’t for the bushy tail, you might’ve missed him. (Well, he was smaller and grey, but still easily missed).

He couldn’t whistle an alarm like the other prairie dogs, but when some idiot reached into the enclosure trying to pet a baby, the squirrel started this screaming chatter so most prarie dogs jumped underground for cover while the big “guards” turned to face the guy that was trying to pet a baby. For a minute it looked like they were going to attack and I thought that wouldn’ve been cool!

They didn’t attack though.

Still it was neat. Squirrel thought he was just a fluffy ground hog.

Oh yeah Prarie Dogs.
What I meant to post about…
They dug out of their enclosure and would rip off french fries from zoo benches when picnicers looked away.

Several years ago, I worked at a zoo/wildlife rehab center. It was extremely common for folks to drop off unwanted animals at the zoo. These included such domestic animals as dogs, cats, sheep, goats, pigs, ferrets, rats, and rabbits, and more exotic species such as white tail deer, seagulls, and crows. Some of the animals would be left in a carrier or tied up at the entrance, while others, especially dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, and ducks, would just be turned loose. Why anyone would think this was an acceptable means to dispose of their pet is beyond me. I believe with the exotics, folks were afraid they would get in trouble for possessing the animal against state law, but I don’t know the reasoning for disposing of the domestic animals this way.

We also had numerous coyotes break in and try to take up residency in our coyote enclosure. This presented a problem because it was a bit tricky to distinguish between our vaccinated coyotes and the feral ones.

The largest animal to ever break in was a female moose who took up temporary residency in our waterfowl exhibit, along with her newborn calf. This pair was relocated to a more remote region, but they were fun to watch while they were there.

The break-in I liked best, was a raccoon. I was up feeding the eagles one day, and found a raccoon in their outer exhibit. I assumed it was one of ours, who’d somehow managed to escape, and went over, cornered it, and then picked it up, and headed to the raccoon exhibit. While trying to get in the exhibit with my arm full of raccoon and keys, the raccoon managed to get away from me. This turned out to be a good thing, however, because as it turned out, this wasn’t one of ours. I’m assuming it was once somebody’s pet, as it let me pick it up, but that’s the last time I was ever foolish enough to attempt something like that.