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

April Case Debrief
Case: Clue Spotter is so excited that it’s finally warming up and he’s planning a spring break vacation! Since everything is more fun with friends, Clue Spotter has asked one of the animals here at Zoo Atlanta to come along. They’re trying to pack important things for the trip. He’s also excited to celebrate this animal on April 30th. Which animal could it be?

Status: Mystery Solved!
Answer: Rhino

Clue #1:  The first clue box at the Panda Veranda contained sunglasses and a splatter of mud! His friend said he wallows and uses mud as sunscreen to protect his skin from the sun here in Atlanta. Clue Spotter knows that packing sunscreen is always important for going on vacation.

  • ​Wallowing is when animals roll or lay in mud or water.
  • Wallowing also helps these animals stay cool and keeps off biting insects.
  • These animals have thick, grey skin similar to an elephant’s.

Clue #2: Snacks are also an important item to pack for vacation. At the Willie B. Conservation Center, you learned that Clue Spotter’s friend likes to eat leaves and twigs with his prehensile lip. Here at Zoo Atlanta he also likes to eat apples, sweet potato, and cantaloupe. Yum!

Clue #3: If you’re going to travel a long distance you might want something fun to do on the way.  Clue Spotter’s friend has all sorts of enrichment he wants to bring along. His favorites are anything that he can push around or pick up with his horn! You could find out more at the clue box in the Elephant House.

  • Enrichment is anything fun or new that our keepers do for the animals. It could be a treat, a toy, or even a smell!
  • This animal’s horn is made from keratin. This is the same material as our hair and fingernails.
  • To shape its horn this animal will rub it against rocks and other hard surfaces. Each horn has a unique shape.
  • Come celebrate International ________ Day on April 30th!

Great job, detectives!

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.