You can call me Betty (Giraffe)

Tortoises
Give… us… nametags…

Checking out the Zoo yesterday with my mom and my daughters I realized something about zoos that for some reason I’ve never thought of before: they never show the public the animals’ names. I’m positive that the zookeepers know each animal’s name, and granted it would be difficult to explain which zebra is which, but wouldn’t it introduce an extra element of fun to the proceedings? “Ooh that one must be Sally, because that stripe below her ear has a little crook to it”…

Is this something you see at other zoos? The new penguin exhibit does show the names for each bird, and it is extremely difficult to tell them apart. But it is fun and the names are cute. I’m telling you, this could be a hit.

I’d like to invite you to post below your name suggestions for various zoo animals, whether they are specific ones (the lone red panda, for example) or just good suggestions for certain species. I’d also like to present the following poll to select a name for the male orangutan, certainly one of the most recognizable inhabitants of the Sac zoo. This is what he looks like (I think this is an actual picture of the guy I’m talking about, but I’m not positive)

Bubba?

[poll=5]

Author: CoolDMZ

"X-ray vision to see in between / Where's my kimono and my time machine?"

19 thoughts on “You can call me Betty (Giraffe)”

  1. Naming animals teaches kids the wrong message–that wild animals should be treated like domestic animals. Whether you agree with zoos or not. It is hard to come up with a good reason to further anthropormorphize the animals at a zoo.

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  2. How is the anthropomorphism of animals at the zoo different from what Disney has been doing for decades? Sure, those are cartoon characters, but the premise is basically the same. A tiny fraction of people turn out like Timothy “Grizzly Man” Treadwell who can’t differentiate between a deadly beast and a cute ‘n’ cuddly friend — which is why we have the Darwin Awards.

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  3. Hey yo- that first post was not from me. I’m setting the record straight on this one.

    How about: Lord Lumberton V. Longfellow

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  4. I agree. It is no different from what Disney does. Therefore, I propose that Disney should run all zoos.

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  5. I’ve been thinking about this ALL DAY. Other things that are anthropomorphized that can be dangerous/deadly besides wild animals:

    Hurricanes
    Other non-hurricane tropical storms
    Ships
    Forest fires
    Rockslides
    Cars
    Androids!

    Heck, even domesticated animals are dangerous, and we give them names. Our “Ken the Kat” likes to use his razor-sharp claws when I brush his belly, so much so that I’m asking for a falconer’s glove for Christmas.

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  6. excellent point about androids. i would also like to know whether Scott supposes that there are more or fewer wild animal maulings now than there were before there were zoos. i’m quite positive there are exponentially fewer wild animal maulings as people are exposed to more and more wild animals in captivity. he should focus his energy on that living with the wolves guy.

    http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/manamongwolves/

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  7. bottled water teaches kids that water is safe. in reality, even a tiny amount of inhaled water can kill you.

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  8. I disagree with the whole idea that zoo’s do not show names. Doesn’t any one remember ling-ling or what ever that Panda at the freakin national zoo is called. Also if you go to the San Francisco zoo and look at the Gorilla exhibit they have boards up all around that have the names and family history.

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  9. Yeah I thought it was probably something certain zoos do, just not ours. Shamu, Ling-ling, etc. I just think that alpha male orangutan needs a name. Specifically, Constable Fuzzyweather.

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  10. Ew!! Ew!! I actually know this one!!! We visited the Sac Zoo last year and our tour guide explained that at our zoo, only the trainers know the names as it makes it easier for them to command the animals. They can use the name as leverage for commands. If everyone knew there name and yelled “Hey Leroy Jenkins!! Come here!!” When he really needed to come he might not take the request as seriously. Also…did you see the giant porcupines?? They are my favorite.

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  11. that is an excellent point. what about a sign that says “This big guy is Constable Fuzzyweather. DO NOT attempt to call him by name or he will maul your child.”

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  12. Yeah or when the trainers really mean business they could have a slightly different name to use, like “Sir Constable Fuzzyweather” as opposed to the rest of the time when he’s just plain old Constable Fuzzyweather. Why is Constable Fuzzyweather so much fun to say? Like saying “Got labs?” in the special voice that I use to pretend my two labs are talking to me. Talk about a habit the first commenter would hate by the way. Hey, why hasn’t Faux Paws weighed in on this issue? No I’m not smoking pot right now. Just hitting the crystal. Crystal Light that is.

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  13. The difference is that zoos sell themselves as educational institutions. They claim that they attempt to make the settings of the enclosures as naturalistic as possible.

    Of course, research shows that zoo visitors spend almost no time reading what educational displays and literature are on displays. And what they see, far too often, is animals displaying behavior indicative of psychological disturbance (pacing, circling, etc.) The conditions they are kept in too often drive them truly insane.

    Adding names to captive wild animals would only make zoos even more of a strange (and sad) spectacle than they already are.

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  14. i think letting the public know the animals’ names would cause peple to call the animals by that name rather than learn the actual name of the animal. i don’t know how often i overhear parents giving their kids the wrong information about some of the smaller cats and birds. and to counter beekind, the animals in the sac are rescued animals. none were taken from the wild in good health and most would have died if the zoo did nothing. animals in cages are sad, i agree, but i think what would be worse is our ignorance of these creatures if we had nothing.

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