Zoo’s Clues

Help Detective Clue Spotter the Otter crack the case with monthly mysteries geared toward 6 to 12-year-olds.

Available daily.
Staffed Saturday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Ideal for ages 6 to 12

  • Only staffed on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (weather dependent) or available on a self-guided basis anytime.
  • Prizes can only be picked up when staffed or by contacting cluespotter@zooatlanta.org.
  • Supplies are available at Detective Headquarters for self-guided spotters.

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 available right here, or in the brown mailbox at our Detective Headquarters, located across from the elephant habitat.

Zoo’s Clues Online

Printable Clue Sheet (PDF)

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

Skills you need to be a good Zoo detective

  • The ability to observe. You should take a good look at the clues provided. Look at clues from several angles, and make a 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. 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.

You can print out your clue sheet or take one from the mailbox at Detective Headquarters at the Zoo anytime!

Closed cases

April Case Debrief

Case: Clue Spotter decides to take a vacation to Brazil during Spring Break. While hiking through the rainforest, he stumbles upon another animal’s home. He’s not sure who lives here, but he’s ready to put his detective skills to the test! Can you help Clue Spotter figure out what animal’s home he has discovered?

Putting the clues together:

Clue Spotter knows that every animal needs food, shelter, and enrichment to thrive. At the first clue box, we investigate the mystery animal’s shelter/habitat. We found a little bed inside a tree hollow with vines. We correctly assume our mystery animal moves through the forest using the vines. This makes our mystery animal arboreal. “Arboreal” means that this animal is adapted to living and moving in the trees. We also discovered a range map that shows our mystery animal lives in the Brazilian rainforest. Also, the fur left behind tells us the animal has orange fur.

Moving on to the next clue box, we found leftover fruit, bugs and eggshells. Our mystery animal is eating both fruits and other animals, which makes it an omnivore. We observe that the habitat is full of a kind of plant called a bromeliad. Clue Spotter dabbles in botany, so he knows these bromeliads are great at storing rainwater and would be a perfect place for our mystery animal to get a drink. Lastly, Clue Spotter notices some small poop from our mystery animal. We figured out that poop can help disperse seeds in the rainforest.

At the third and final clue box, we found a bamboo feeder toy and a torn-up paper bag. These are both enrichment items. Enrichment refers to anything in an animal’s habitat that encourages natural behaviors. A handprint shows us our mystery animal has long, thin fingers to help it get its food. It even has a thumb! The torn-up bag tells us this animal loves to tear things apart! It’s a good thing this animal lives in the rainforest and not in your home, because it would be a very destructive pet. To help protect this mystery animal and many other animals in the wild, you can choose to adopt pets only after you’ve researched what kinds of shelter, food and enrichment that pet needs, and only if you’re sure you can provide what your pet needs to thrive.

Once we put all these clues together, we now know that the mystery animal is the golden lion tamarin!

Status: Mystery Solved!

Answer: Golden lion tamarin

Great job, Detectives!

Your pal,

Clue Spotter the Otter

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