The Detective Headquarters is open on Saturday, 10am - 2pm
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 email@example.com.
Super Sleuths Wanted
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.
Clue Spotter the Otter
Status: Mystery Solved!
Clue #1: In this clue box, we found a vulture skull and some animal bones. Clue Spotter found out the first vulture is located on the main spine across from the elephant barn.
- The first vulture’s range is from sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
- This vulture is bald, with a whitish pink head with a vertical fold of skin on each side of the head/neck.
Clue #2: We found out that the second vulture is located near the petting zoo barn!
- This vulture is also from the sub-Saharan range.
- Because they are smaller than other African vultures, this vulture can rise on thermals more quickly and is often the first to spot a carcass.
Clue #3: Clue Spotter knows that the third vulture is also located near the petting zoo barn.
- This vulture’s range is from Central Mexico south through Argentina.
This vulture’s head and neck coloring is a mixture of red, orange, yellow and purplish-blue. The eyes are white with reddish outer rings.
Put it all together
The first vulture’s range is from sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian peninsula. When carrion is scarce, this bird has been known to sit near locust or termite colonies and eat the insects as they emerge from their mounds. This vulture is bald, with a whitish pink head with a vertical fold of skin on each side of the head. The first vulture found here is the lappet-faced vulture! The second vulture is also found in sub- Saharan Africa. Because they are smaller than other African vultures, this vulture can rise on thermals more quickly and is often the first to spot a carcass. The second vulture is the hooded vulture! The final vulture is native to Central Mexico south through Argentina. This vulture does not have a keen sense of smell, so it often follows other species of vulture to a feeding site. However, once there, this vulture dominates the feeding site and eats first. The head and neck coloring is a mixture of red, orange, yellow and purplish-blue. The eyes are white with reddish outer rings. The last vulture is the king vulture!
Great job, detectives!
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.