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? 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

October Case Debrief
Case:  Something spooky is happening at Zoo Atlanta. Zookeeper Michele told Clue Spotter the Otter that she thinks she saw a ghost! Clue Spotter wants to help Michele and suspects that she may have actually seen an animal. Can you help Clue Spotter follow the clues and catch the mysterious ghost?‚Äč
Status: Mystery Solved!
Answer: The ghost is really a lemur!
  • Clue #1: When investigating the area where Michele says she saw the ghost, Clue Spotter found some yellow paw prints— these could be important! It looks like pollen... Many animal species (including the mystery animal!) are considered pollinators because they like to eat flowers. This spreads pollen from plant to plant. Do ghosts like fruits and vegetables? This ghost does! It’s an herbivore that likes fruits, veggies and seeds. It can also be found living in a social group called a troop.
  • Clue #2: The Zoo isn’t the first place Michele has seen a ghost! When she was travelling through forests on the island of Madagascar near Africa, she felt like wherever she went she was always being watched. This clue box looked like a forest, full of trees. You learned that this ghost is arboreal and spends a lot of time climbing, so it is important to protect the forests where the mystery animal lives.
  • Clue #3: Clue Spotter learned that there is a type of primate known as the “Ghost of the Forest.” Maybe this animal is the ghost that Michele saw! The Sifaka is a primate that is primarily white, which is how it got its nickname of “Ghost of the Forest.” Zoo Atlanta is home to two different species that look similar to the Sifaka. Lemure is a Latin word that means ghost or spirit. The information in this clue box also told you that this animal does not make a good pet since they live in groups, scent mark their territory, and are very curious!
Put it all together:
An animal that is an herbivore, likes pollen, lives in Madagascar in the trees, is a primate, and would not be a good pet. A big clue was that the Latin words Lemure means ghost or spirit, and it sounds like the mystery animal’s name. It’s a lemur! Great job!

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.