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

September Case Debrief
Case: Clue Spotter the Otter has made a new friend, Idgie! Clue Spotter and zoos across the world celebrated Idgie and her friends on September 20. Can you find out what kind of animal Clue Spotter’s friend Idgie is? 
Status: Mystery solved
Answer: Red panda
  • Clue #1: You were told the first clue was located inside the Elephant House. The clue you found was some of Idgie’s fur. You would have observed that it was thick and red. Because the fur is so thick, you know that Idgie lives in cold weather for at least some of the year. 
  • Clue #2: You could find the second clue near the giant pandas. Inside this clue box, you found a piece of bamboo and a photo of a pseudothumb. From Lun Lun’s hint, you know that bamboo is a big part of Idgie’s diet. Idgie has a pseudothumb just like giant pandas do, to help her hold and eat bamboo.  
  • Clue #3: The last clue was in the Komodo dragon exhibit near the World of Reptiles. Here you found a model of Idgie’s skull and a photo of her tail. The skull tells us that she is small, and from the photo of her tail, we can tell that it is used for balance. Because of these two things we know that it is very likely that Idgie spends a lot of time in the trees; and the clue even tells us that she is arboreal! 
  • Put it all together: What kind of animal could Idgie be? Hmmmm … We know she lives in cold, bamboo forests of Asia. We also learned that she is small, has red fur, and loves to eat bamboo. Can you think of any animal like that around here at Zoo Atlanta? That’s right! Idgie is a red panda! 
Great job, detectives! Visit my new friend Idgie next time you’re at the Zoo! 
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.