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

November Case Debrief

Case:  A mysterious creature has been patrolling the Zoo at night. This animal has fantastic night vision. Can you help Clue Spotter the Otter figure out who it is?

Putting the clues together:

Upon visiting the first clue box, we discovered that the mystery animal’s favorite scent is cologne. We also figured out that the animal has a Velcro-like tongue and that it is a carnivore (an animal that eats meat). Another interesting fact we learned was that this animal smells with a Jacobson’s organ. The Jacobson’s organ is found in the roof of the mouth and helps the animal analyze the scent.

Moving on to the next clue box, we found out that our mystery animal can roar, growl, and chuff. This animal has an excellent sense of hearing, and it uses this sense to help with hunting. We discovered that the paws of our mystery animal help it to stalk quietly through the forest so that its prey won’t hear it. It also uses its paws for swimming.

At the third and final clue box, we figured out that the mystery animal is from the jungles of Sumatra, and it is a nocturnal hunter, meaning it hunts at night. This animal’s population suffers from habitat loss. We learned that you can help protect this animal’s habitat by choosing products with sustainable palm oil. Once we put all these clues together, we now know that the mysterious creature has been patrolling the Zoo at night is a Sumatran tiger!

Status: Mystery Solved!

Answer: The strange shadow was cast by an Sumatran tiger.

Great job, Detectives!

Your pal,

Clue Spotter the Otter

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