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April Fool in the Zoo

Peter is an independent international zoo consultant, critic and writer with over 50 years work within zoos.

April Fool in the Zoo

If you work in a zoo office on the reception then April 1st is the worst day of the year. April Fools are out there in their hundreds. The Foolers and the Fools both apparently believing that what they are doing or have been hit with is a highly original joke and is very very funny.

Zoos don't think it is funny. They have heard it all before. There is nothing new under the sun as far as April Fools day is concerned.

Many Zoos will not answer the phone on the morning of April 1st. It is an utter and complete waste of time. The callers of the morning are divided into three types. Genuine enquires, Jokers and Fools.

The genuine callers want to know when the zoo will open and how much a ticket cost.

The Jokers ring and say "Can I speak to Mr G.Raffe Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!" I mean are zoo staff actually expected to believe this is funny? Really? Be assured that they do not. Zoo staff, if they can be bothered to answer the phone hope and pray that someone, somewhere may actually come up with something original.

Jokers are the reason that many zoos moved over to automated switchboards. Press button 1 for enquiries....long automated message answering every question you might like to ask and then some. Not answered? Press button 2 for Education etc

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Photo by:

The April Fools

The April Fools are the gullible innocent parties in the morning attack on the zoo on April 1st. These have been set up by the Jokers. The Jokers will set up friends and innocents. Sometimes dozens of them and the titter away behind their hands believing how clever and amusing they are. And they are not!

Usually they will set up a friend or family member. It goes something like this:

Joker: "Someone rang and said they were interested in buying the car you advertised",

Fool: "Oh, that's good news. Did you take a message?"

Joker: "Yes, I scribbled it down, it is next to the phone."

Message reads - Ring Miss C.Lion on 074**98634

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Photo by:

The innocent Fool will phone of course.

The wiser Fool will immediately realise they have been 'had' when the phone is answered with "Good Morning, this is the XYZ Zoo. how may I help you?".

The keyword zoo.....C.Lion....dawning realisation. The Fool hangs up.

The foolish Fool asks to speak to Miss C. Lion.

The zoo receptionist explains it is a joke and that the fool has been fooled. Here things can get complicated and even nasty because for some unfathomable reason the foolish Fool thinks it is the zoo who has telephoned and left the message. Why on earth? Explanations and arguments are largely a waste of time. The foolish Fool may listen to a detailed explanation and then hang up, only to phone moments later thinking that they must have dialed incorrectly the first time.

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Meanwhile the joker may be there in the room with the fool practically dying with stifled laughter. Or they are down at the pub telling everybody just how clever they are for setting up so many.

April Fools Jokes are not funny for zoos. They waste half a day. It is a relief when the clock chimes 12 noon "April Fools is past and are the fool and I am none."

But it isn't really because the stupid Joker is playing the Fool all year long.


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A small list of 'zoo' employees called on April 1st

Mr Don Key

Ken Garoo

Ms Anne Fibian

Miss Ann Teatah

Mr C Eagle

Mr C Lion

Mr Albert Ross

Mr Jim Panzie

Mr Katz

Miss Ryna Soris

Mr G. Raffe

Miss Ali Gator

Miss Anna Conda

Mr Behr

Mr Adolph Finn

Mr Ted E. Bear

Miss Ellie Fant

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Jokes are not just for April


Gregg Dancho on March 31, 2013:

World wide zoo wide. Always hate it when April 1st is on a weekday!

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 30, 2013:

Good luck for this year Martin.

Martin King on March 30, 2013:

Hi Peter, we have a couple of automated lines setup for Mrs Ann Teater and Mr Jim Panzee this year, just so our receptionist can clear their lines quicker, it worked well last year!

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on April 12, 2012:

nicomp - true enough, the day of fools will never leave us.

nicomp really from Ohio, USA on April 12, 2012:

This is truly an evergreen hub.

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 31, 2012:

Ha Ha Derek....I actually thought about you when I wrote this.

Derek Lyon on March 31, 2012:

And my name is actually Lyon...AND I WAS VET at Chester Zoo...AND got over 1000 calls on April 1st for me....only one ever got through...some guy who I actually knew trting to sell me a car..happy days!!

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 27, 2012:

Thanks Joey....if only they could come up with something new.

Joey on March 26, 2012:

This is so (depressingly) true! Thank you, Peter for putting our thoughts on April 1st into a bit of a giggle for once - it makes a nice change to actually smile about this most annoying day of the year - ironically!

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 31, 2010:

Mephitis - Ha Ha Ha...I am glad you enjoyed the hub.

Mephitis on March 31, 2010:

Thanks for the list Peter; I was running short of names for this year and you have got some good ones there!!

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 30, 2010:

ntweisen - Gosh. I had not thought of it like that. Thank you.

ntweisen on March 29, 2010:

One of the most unique posts I've ever read! Way to go.

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 29, 2010:

Thank you i scribble. In a way I felt guilty at posting this hub now as I thought it might give some of the great unwashed some crazy ideas. I do hope not.

i scribble on March 29, 2010:

I never heard of making prank calls to a zoo. It sounds like the kind of prank calls we made as kids to anyone any day of the year. I may share your animal names with kids I work with, cuz they will get a kick out of them. But I won't tell them about the prank calls-don't want to give them ideas!

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 29, 2010:

entertianmentplus - I am pleased you enjoyed it.

entertianmentplus from United States on March 29, 2010:

Interesting hub.

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 29, 2010:

GojiJuiceGoodness - Like any joke it IS funny the first two times you hear it but after that it becomes a tedious drag. Thanks for reading.

GojiJuiceGoodness from Roanoke, Virginia on March 29, 2010:

Honestly, I had never heard of these jokes! It sounds kinda funny, but I'm sure it is VERY aggravating for the zoos.

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 29, 2010:

angela_michelle - Thank you. Ann Teetah = Anteater

Angela Michelle Schultz from United States on March 29, 2010:

I have to admit I found this amusing, but then, I haven't heard it countless times before. The only one I don't get is Miss Ann Teetah? (cheetah?)

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 29, 2010:

Bruce dougan - Ha Ha...but did they get the joke I wonder? Thanks for reading.

bruce dougan on March 29, 2010:

We used to get a lot of calls for Mr. Lion to which the receptionisdts would reply;" I'm sorry he's on another lion!"

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 28, 2010:

kowality - happy to raise a smile. Thanks for commenting.

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 28, 2010:

Hello, hello, - irksome and irritating and sometimes completely innocent in their ignorance.

kowality from Everywhere on March 28, 2010:

Nice way to start my Sunday. Read one of your hubs Peter. Thank You

Hello, hello, from London, UK on March 28, 2010:

Thank you for a giggle. Some people can be irksome.

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 28, 2010:

Thank You Sandyspider and Anna.

Anna on March 28, 2010:

It's so true, used to drive me up the wall.

Sandy Mertens from Wisconsin, USA on March 28, 2010:

Interesting hub. I enjoyed the photos.

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