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

February Case Debrief
Clue Spotter the Otter has offered to babysit Jabari while his parents, Andazi and Utenzi, are on a Valentine’s Day picnic. Can you use the clues to figure out what kind of animal Jabari is?
Status: Mystery Solved!
Answer: Rhinocerous
  • Clue #1: In the first Clue Box, you found a huge footprint! Jabari is already big, but he’ll become much bigger as he gets older.  When he was born he weighed around 60 to 90 pounds, but when he’s an adult he could weigh up to 3,500 pounds. You also found a baby bottle because as a baby,  Jabari drinks his mother’s milk.
  • Clue #2: In the second Clue Box, you found some dry leaves and twigs –Jabari’s favorite snack. You also learned that Jabari loves to make messes! His favorite activity is wallowing, or rolling around in the mud.
  • Clue #3: In the last Clue Box, you found a replica of some kind of horn and learned that real horns like this are made of keratin – the same as your own hair and fingernails! Since Jabari is so young, his two horns are still growing. When Jabari is an adult, his front horn could grow to be up to 4 feet long!
Put it all together: You learned that Jabari is big even though he is still young, and he will get even bigger. You also learned that Jabari loves to roll and play in mud and eats leaves. Finally, you learned that Jabari has two horns that grow throughout his whole life. Putting all that together, what kind of animal could Jabari be? Jabari is a rhinoceros, of course! 

Great job, detectives. Utenzi, Andazi and Jabari had a great Valentine’s Day and hope you did too! See you next month.

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.