Zoo's Clues

The Detective Headquarters is open on Saturday, 10am - 2pm
weather dependent

You can print out your clue sheet or take one from the mailbox at Detective Headquarters at the zoo any time!

If you have questions or would like to submit your own mystery, e-mail us at


Super Sleuths Wanted
Greetings Detectives,

My name is Detective Clue Spotter the Otter, and I need YOUR help solving monthly mysteries! Study the evidence, engage in the suspense, observe the clues, and use your detective skills to unravel the mystery, all while learning about our natural world.

Are you ready to get started? Our Detective Headquarters is open and staffed by our highly trained secret agents from 10am – 2pm on Saturdays. Want to help me crack the case but can’t make it on a Saturday? No problem, during the week, Zoo’s Clues is a self-guided activity! All of the confidential materials you need are in the brown mailbox at our Detective Headquarters, located across from the elephant exhibit.

You can print out this month’s clue sheet (file on the right) from home if you want to get a head start!

At the end of the month we’ll post the case debrief below so you can learn even more information about the mysteries we’ve solved together.

Your pal,
Clue Spotter the Otter

Closed Cases

June Case: Strange things have been happening here! Someone has been making a mess all over the Zoo. Every day, more and more items are found completely destroyed. Can you help Clue Spotter find out who the vandal is and put a stop to this?
Status: Mystery Solved
Answer: The lion cubs
  • Clue #1: You were told that the very first clue was located inside the Elephant Barn. The clue was found with a tooth, a claw and photograph proof of a vandalized bucket. You learned that because the vandal has such sharp teeth and claws, it must be a carnivore. Since Zoo Atlanta has herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores we have narrowed down our list of suspects.
  • Clue #2: You found the second clue outside the naked mole rat exhibit. There you found a list with all of Zoo Atlanta’s carnivores and a fur sample. You learned that since our vandal has fur, it must be a mammal. So far we know that the vandal is both a carnivore and a mammal. 
  • Clue #3: The last clue was found inside The Living Treehouse. You learned that four sets of paw prints were found at the crime scene. This means that there were actually four vandals. The measurements of the paw prints show that they are from a small animal like a cub. Can you think of any animal at the Zoo that is both a carnivore and a mammal that just had four cubs?

Put it all together: Who could our vandals be? Our list of animals that are both mammals and carnivores are: tanukis, binturong, fossa, bush dogs, lions, tigers and sun bears. Out of all these animals, only the lions currently have cubs, so 

Clue Spotter must be looking for our four lion cubs! Great job, detectives! Our new lion cubs Hondo, Hatari, Azizi and Zamaya are our playful mess-makers. Thanks for all your help.
Your Pal,

Clue Spotter the Otter

Skills you need to be a good Zoo detective:

  • The ability to observe. You should really take a good look at the clues provided. Look at clues from several angles and make note of any details on or about the clue. What is the clue or where did it come from? How does is fit with your knowledge and with the other clues provided? Every part of the clue will help you get one step closer to cracking the case.
  • Good memory. You should try to remember all clues provided and details of each to piece together an answer. Cross check each clue and then think how that might fit with your knowledge of animals.
  • Awareness of animal behavior, physical characteristics, and abilities is important. In order to solve some of our mysteries, you are going to need to know a little bit about animals. What do animals look like and what are their characteristics? Where do they live, what do they eat, (and what does their poop look like!), what are some of their behaviors, and what might be an animal’s motive for committing the crime?
  • Detectives are helpful, too. Not only do Zoo detectives want to help Detective Otter figure out “whodunit” but they are generally helpful to their neighbors, friends and to nature.