Edit: thank you everyone for the questions! I am going to bed, since we have another 13 hour day tomorrow/today. If you have any more questions please leave them and I'll respond tomorrow morning once I get up.

And if you are ever coming to the zoo, let me know and I'll find you and say hi!

Comments: 117 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

lonas_11 karma

Man, I heckin' love the Jax Zoo. Anyway, what is the craziest thing you've seen while working at the zoo?

Crazymixedkid12 karma

I would have to say the day green mamba escaped from his exhibit. A GREEN MAMBA. He ended up in a tree outside, while giving everyone a heart attack.

snakesandstuff2 karma

Hahha, wow. How long ago was this?

Crazymixedkid2 karma

If I'm correct it was a couple of years ago. From what my boss told me

Mail_room_guy7 karma

Have you ever noticed the huge package on an animal and just felt shame?

Crazymixedkid14 karma

If you ever saw a tapir's penis in person, you'd be disappointed. I mean we all know that elephants are hung. So that didn't surprise me.

Intelligente10 karma

Here you go

Warning: massive tapir penis

Crazymixedkid5 karma

Yes. Yes, imagine that spraying the glass in front of you.

Twan57 karma

How does it feel to be part of the city with the worst team in the NFL?

Crazymixedkid12 karma

Being born and raised in Jacksonville, I can proudly say that the Jaguars have a horrible team and horrible management. Luckily I'm not a fan of the NFL. So I don't have to deal with the disappointment from them.

axollot1 karma

We joke when the game is due to come on "spoiler alert. Jax loses" yea...not a fan.

Crazymixedkid2 karma

Yeah, my parents were born and raised in S. Fla so they are Miami fans. So I grew up loving the Dolphins, but now can never find the time to watch the NFL.

Twan51 karma

On another note, do you have Jaguars in Jacksonville? If so, how are they?

Crazymixedkid2 karma

We do! We have five jaguars, Zenta, Zassi, Onca are the females. Khan(about three months old) and Tuco are the males.

We recently had two of them pass away, one from unknown causes and the other from old age.


Those are some pictures of the cub! Isn't he adorable?

GothicEnchantment7 karma

While awaiting proof: Have you ever been able to pet or love on any of the animals?? If so how was it?

Crazymixedkid11 karma

The only animals that we can really get close with are the goats, chinchillas, macaws, rabbits, short tailed opossums, and a variety of other smaller animals.

I definitely love being around the goats, they are very goofy, and loving.

smoked-up6 karma

Which shit smells the worst, also are there worse smells than shit?

Crazymixedkid11 karma

Definitely elephant shit, without a doubt. We have a complete compost facility right near our storage building which smells horrible in the morning, especially with the heat.

Believe it or not, gorillas have very bad body order. The kind that you can smell even when they are up for the night.

ashlynthegiant5 karma

I love the Jax Zoo! I have a membership here so I go quite often. It is always so clean so thank you! :) Are you excited for the new Tiger exhibit? What do you know about it? I haven't heard that much.

Crazymixedkid4 karma

Thank you for supporting us!

As far as the tigers, I know the exhibit is coming along as planned. Buttttt there are some other exciting stuff that I will PM you :)

mmword4 karma

I was just there last weekend! I fed a giraffe for two dollars!

Crazymixedkid6 karma

I get to feed them whenever I stop by up there! When I finish my work I like to go stand up there and just watch them walk around or try and eat the branches off of the palm trees!

treade3 karma

Worst human customer interaction story?

Crazymixedkid17 karma

Well I have visible tattoos, and I've had a couple dads walk pass me and tell their kids "and this is why you go to school."

But funny enough I am going to school right now to become an elementary school teacher. Plus I'm only 20 years old!!

CorkyMonster8 karma

That's horrible, people can be such assholes. Good luck with school, awesome aspiration!

Crazymixedkid3 karma

They very much can!

Thank you so much, I just want to be able to make a difference in someone's life, and what a better time then when they are young?

CaptClarenceOveur2 karma

"and this is why you go to school."

Didn't I see that exact story on /r/AdviceAnimals a couple of days ago?

Crazymixedkid3 karma

I think so, this the ignorance that some people have towards people who are working what would be considered a job for the poor.

SuddenlyALampPost3 karma

What made you decide to work in a zoo?

What has been the most surprising aspect of working in the zoo? Something that you totally didn't expect when you started.

Crazymixedkid3 karma

Nothing in particular made me want to work in a zoo, other than it seeming like a fun environment.

The most surprising thing for me was the blatant disrespect from fellow employees. Simply because I am the janitor they feel it is okay to trash common areas that I am in charge of cleaning, and no one has any respect for anything unless it is their own.

SuddenlyALampPost1 karma

Aw that's got to be really annoying. Sorry to hear that :( You know, I originally wanted to ask if the zoo was clique-y. Some reason I just had in my head the cafeteria scene in Mean Girls applied to zoo departments. Guess I sort of got my answer there.

Crazymixedkid3 karma

It is very much cliquey. The keepers typically stick together, I've even seen them go as far as to only sitting with people from their own areas(mammals, herpetology, birds.) Then horticulture stays to them self for the most part, education people stick together, and then facilities(which I'm apart of) stays together.

But since I'm responsible for cleaning all of the areas that everyone visits I talk with everyone, except the keepers. Simply because the keepers are second on the totem pole around here.

tinylittlegnat2 karma

Any interesting poop stories?

Crazymixedkid13 karma

From humans or animals?

lllmatic2 karma


Crazymixedkid3 karma

Humans: Someone shit on their hand I presume, and smeared it all over the walls and mirrors. Guess who cleaned that one up.

Animals: Our peacocks roam the zoo freely, so their shit ends up everywhere. The gorillas throw shit at people who are walking through their night house. The elephants shit in big piles, that we turn into compost and sell.


duffman12602 karma

What's the best time to see the most awake animals?

Crazymixedkid3 karma

First thing in the morning when they are put out, so when the zoo opens.

And then in the afternoon before they are put up for the night.

axollot2 karma

Hey! Was just at the Jax zoo the other week. Thanks for all the hard work there. It is a smallish zoo, been to zoos all over the world - from southern CA to Australia. Jax is neat. Mention to the admins that they should start a wallaby pet/feed program. Wallabies and roos are in Aussie parks, golf courses, zoos, fauna parks and roam about freely with no problems. It would be a great fund raising attraction for the zoo!

Crazymixedkid4 karma

I definitely will tell them! The wallabies are very sweet and love to come up close to the gate.

axollot1 karma

Yep. They were wonderful when I still lived in Australia. The grey's too. They have the giraffe feeding and the sting ray petting/feeding pool. Wallabies would be brilliant. Great to have another local on here.

Crazymixedkid3 karma

I know with the tigers coming next year all of the focus is going towards that, but I will definitely try bringing that up to the head of the animal programs.

koro1232 karma

What animals according to you behave most strangely or funny?

Crazymixedkid4 karma

We have two wolves, a male and female, and the female beats up the male so bad he has to go to out on ground hospital because of his wounds.

Our funniest animals are the squirrel monkeys, kangaroos, and penguins. Just because they are all so goofy.

koro1233 karma

What do you do when one of animals get wild like this female wolf?

Crazymixedkid3 karma

They separate the two, and then after a while slowly reintroduce them back into the same exhibit. The two wolves were separated for about 4 months at one point in order to give them the chance to call down and not hurt each other.

koro1232 karma

Were there incidents when a animal which got will attacked or tried to attack people?

Crazymixedkid3 karma

Not that I know of, our exhibits have certain requirements in order to protect guest and keepers.

Tsutarja2 karma

Favourite animal of your zoo?

Crazymixedkid3 karma

My favorite animal was Salsa, our melanistic jaguar. But, unfortunately she passed away two weeks ago. :(


Tsutarja2 karma

Darn. What a shame, she looked great. Do they know how she died yet?

Crazymixedkid3 karma

I've been talking to the vets and curator and they are still running test.

MermaidArmory2 karma

Which animals are your favorites?

Crazymixedkid2 karma

My personal favorite was Salsa, the jaguar who passed away about a week ago from unknown causes.

I also really love watching the bonobos, simply because they are so much like humans! Plus, the babies are cute!

See! http://imgur.com/JPgpkUe

sailornicole2 karma

I used to live in Jacksonville as a kid and the zoo was my favorite place. The exhibits always looked clean and animals happy. What is your opinion of the exhibit habitats? Are the animals well taken care of? I'm always afraid of enjoying a place and then finding out bad things happen behind the scenes.

Crazymixedkid4 karma

The animals are definitely well taken care of, and everyone that works with them seems to make sure nothing happens.

I personally believe that the animals shouldn't be kept in such small enclosures. Just imagine if you were let out into the backyard every morning and only to be brought back in at night. You can go no other place, just in and out. That's really the one thing I do not like about zoos.

But other than that I try to strive for perfection when it comes to cleaning. Of course we slack off but we still get everything done.

Boycat892 karma

Hey, I'm from jacksonville too (Orange Park)! To be honest, I hate the Jacksonville Zoo. The animals always seem depressed or not active.

Crazymixedkid2 karma

The animals are not really ever active. The best time to see them active is first thing in the morning, or in the afternoon before closing.

Plus most of these animals are not used to the absurd heat of Florida.

That is the one thing that disappointed me when I used to come out to the zoo as well.

aVirtualReality2 karma

I suppose, what do rhinos do? Are they ever agressive over there?

Crazymixedkid2 karma

Not to aggressive. We have a male and female who have this big open field. They share it with an ostrich, and a family of kudus.

They kind of just walk around all day eating hay, alfalfa, and other enrichment foods.

Unless they are sleeping.

8305kate2 karma

Have you ever had any animals activists protesting at the zoo?

Crazymixedkid2 karma

No, though the only time I have seen the activist in Jacksonville was at the circus that comes to town.

CaptClarenceOveur2 karma

Any funny or disgusting animal stories that you could share?

Do you have any moral qualms about being in the zoo business?

Crazymixedkid3 karma

I've been told that a few of the maintenance workers have had gorilla feces so hard at them that it packed into their ears.

I've stepped in some peacock feces, and even gotten them on my hand not realizing what it was.

Crazymixedkid2 karma

And no, the morality of the zoo business doesn't have any play on my emotions.

CaptClarenceOveur2 karma

What about the penguins? Any stories about them that you could share?

Crazymixedkid3 karma

Actually, the penguin keeper told me this a couple of weeks ago.

The penguins shed their fur once a year in a process called molting, where their old feathers come off in patches as the new ones grow underneath. He said that in order for them to survive they must store extra fat, which causes them to become very grumpy, and irritable. It is very funny/weird to see a penguin the has started molting, but also interesting.

http://imgur.com/BcrZGBH That is what a molting penguin looks like!

CaptClarenceOveur0 karma

Thats disgusting. I bet they smell. Any idea what they taste like?

Crazymixedkid2 karma

"If it's possible to imagine a piece of beef, odiferous cod fish and a canvas-backed duck roasted together in a pot, with blood and cod-liver oil for sauce, the illustration would be complete"


Their night house just smells like fish. Soooo they probably smell like fish.

Harportcw2 karma

So, You really know your shit, don't you?

Crazymixedkid6 karma

I guess you could say I....


( •_•)>⌐■-■


Handle shit well.

_T_Mann2 karma

What is the protocol if an animal was to get out of its cage/area? Also, have you had any scary experiences while working there?

Crazymixedkid9 karma

The person who witnesses the animal escaping would radio everyone and let them know we have a code red(faster, bigger, dangerous animals) or a code yellow( small less dangerous animals). We then block off the exits to the zoo in every direction with vehicles.

We have a task force with lethal and non-lethal ways of taking down the animals. Since I have been here only one animal has gotten out, and that was a kudo. He kind of just walked along the back road and was trying to find something to eat.

Scariest thing I have experienced is being here late at night with all the lights off. Right now we have a Halloween event which goes until about 10. So once everyone leaves, we turn the lights out and it gets DARK. we have wild cats and raccoons and opossums that roam the zoo which have startled me.

Also having a rattlesnake by my car was pretty frightening.

CaptClarenceOveur3 karma


I think you mean Kudu, yes? If no, wtf is a Kudo?

Crazymixedkid3 karma

Yes, I did mean Kudu.

Thank you auto-correct and trying to work at the same time.

clsteveparks2 karma


Crazymixedkid2 karma

Haha, I'm not sure why!!

It wasn't in my car, but it was right next to my drivers side tire. I wouldn't have seen it because I was staying late that night, and there are no lights on that side of the lot. My coworker say it as he was leaving and then called security to come get me because I was pressure washing and couldn't hear anything.

At first I didn't believe them, but then three other people told me about it. So they shooed the snake away and I moved my car under the light by the time clock, that way when I got off I was right there by it.

The snake was about 6 feet long, and was confirmed to be a female. We have found a couple of offspring roaming in the zoo recently. O.O

clsteveparks1 karma


Crazymixedkid2 karma

haha I think my coworker has video of it, I will have to ask him tomorrow.

metalveggie2 karma

I believe I know you based on your proof... Any way, my question is how does your job compare to any previous jobs you've had. Btw. Kudos to you for doing this ama.

Crazymixedkid2 karma

Yes, yes you do know who this is.

Working at RaceTrac definitely helped me improve my detail cleaning and attention to detail.

I also did the same kind of work at an apartment complex, as my first job. So I was already aware of what I was getting myself into before I even started.

metalveggie2 karma

Word. Haha. I have another question, how's the saxophone playing going? Or was it tuba. I don't remember.

Crazymixedkid2 karma

Haha, it was both. Since I'm working all the time I haven't had time for any bands, so I haven't really played since I graduated.

Frajer2 karma

After hours do the animals display any weird/interesting behavior?

Crazymixedkid5 karma

Our lions love to start roaring after everyone is out. We also have a pair of siamangs that love to sing to each other.

Kinda like this: http://youtu.be/Q7IuE0tGVzc

btcprox2 karma

So how much more do you know about flora and fauna since working there?

Crazymixedkid5 karma

I have learned more about the animals from being in the park and listening to the guides and keepers.

We have an amazing horticulture department, and some pretty cool gardens. I don't know too much about the plants, but I ask anytime I get curious.

mvh04191 karma

What do you look forward to the most every day at work?

Crazymixedkid1 karma

Definitely the fun and crazy stuff me and my coworkers get into, and our fun conversations.

mvh04191 karma

Are there any animals you have grown to be particularly fond of?

Crazymixedkid1 karma

When I was stationed inside the zoo I found myself always going to the Bonobo overlook and watching the babies running around.

Yourbasement1 karma

How long have you been working at the Zoo? I went there years ago.

Crazymixedkid3 karma

I have been working at the zoo 8 months as of the 23rd. It honestly feels as if I have been there for years. Everyone in my department has been at the zoo for extended periods of time, me having the least amount of time, my boss just hit a year, then we have a guy at 5 years, a lady at 9 years, a guy at 10 years, and finally one guy who has been there for 42 YEARS!!

KennyGaming1 karma

Jax has a great zoo! Don't come watch our football team, go to the zoo!

Anyways what is the most exciting project in the works right now?

Crazymixedkid1 karma

Yes, the zoo is awesome!

The most exciting thing hapening at the moment would be Spooktacular, which has 5 more nights this week.

Also, of course, is the tiger exhibit that is currently being built, and the arrival of tigers to the zoo!

aVirtualReality1 karma

Hey, i havent been to jax, but hopefully in the future. Do you guus have hippos, if so, what do they do?

Crazymixedkid1 karma

We do not have any hippos! But we have rhinos, which are kinda the same? Right?RIGHT?

aVirtualReality1 karma

A rhino and a ostrich? How does that even work?

Crazymixedkid2 karma

Well the rhinos are herbivores so they don't bother the ostrich at all. The ostrich keeps to himself, and likes to stare people down.

BanzaiTree1 karma

The Murray Hill Community Garden appreciates all the "zoo poo" compost! We've heard the zoo won't be offering it anymore once a big new exhibit opens up because they'll need it for all the landscaping. Is that true?

Crazymixedkid1 karma

Not that I am aware of. Our horticulture staff is off on the weekends so I can ask them in the morning when they get in.

The_Virtue1 karma

Hypothetical situation, if all the animals in the zoo broke loose, which animal would be prioritized as first to be found and captured?(I always thought it was the polar bear lol)

Crazymixedkid1 karma

With the animals at our zoo, it would probably be the two big cats (jaguars and lions) then cheetahs, elephants, the venomous snakes, giraffes, and then everything else.

RetroSpyro0 karma

Have you ever seen one of the zoo-keepers treat an animal in a certain way that made you angry?

Crazymixedkid1 karma

No, I haven't. Nothing that would make me angry, but may be upsetting to others.