We already know how terrifyingly intelligent animals can be, and it's a somewhat sobering thought to learn how some individuals dedicate their intelligence to the sole mission of getting the hell out of whatever enclosure we humans have deemed secure enough to keep them in. Especially when they're using methods that, to be perfectly honest, would have never occurred to us.
#5. The Lock-Picking Orangutan
The staff at the Omaha zoo should have known they were asking for trouble when they gave a baby orangutan the name of evil criminal mastermind Fu Manchu. You're just giving him something to live up to, and this little guy nearly got his keepers fired over their inability to keep their orangutan in his cage.
Look at him, flaunting his nudity over all of us who have to wear pants.
Happily playing in their sun-drenched enclosure one minute, the staff were amazed to find Fu and his chums hanging out in some trees outside of their intended habitat a short while later. Finding a door to the exhibit left open, the head keeper figured some staff member had left it unlocked. Then it happened again. And again. The keeper was furious and was about to fire a staff member for failing to do the rather fundamental zoo task of keeping the animals from just leaking out all over the grounds.
"He's getting away. And he stole my bike!"
Finally, somebody happened to be watching when Fu Manchu proceeded to do something no earthly primate should know how to do. First he climbed through the air vents to a dry moat below. Then, he yanked on the door until he could force a little bit of a gap. At that point he slipped a piece of wire through, and used to unhook the latch keeping the door locked.
"Come out to the zoo, we'll get together, have a few laughs..."
Let's let that sink in for a minute.
Within 24 hours of witnessing the orangutan's escape method, staff noticed something shiny sticking out of Fu Manchu's mouth. It was the piece of wire he had used to slip the latch of the door, bent to fit between his gum and lip so he could keep it hidden between escapes.So, stop and ask yourself: Would you even have thought of that?
Zoo officials report that Fu Manchu is currently learning how to carve a shiv.
#4. The Monkey Catapult
The Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University in Japan is regarded as one of the world's leading facilities on all things simian. Given their expertise, you'd think they would know at the very least how to keep their research subjects on the general premises.
Giving them planes may have been a mistake.
But in July 2010, a group of 15 monkeys were found sitting outside their enclosure, which by the way, was surrounded by a 17-foot-high electric fence. Studying their escape method confirmed a long-held belief that real monkeys function exactly the same as cartoon monkeys.
Velociraptors ain't got shit on our furry cousins.
Like any good electric monkey fence, climbing over it and tunneling under were both impossible. The monkeys realized their only option was to go over the damn thing, and in the most ridiculous manner possible. They climbed the trees about 10 feet away from the fence, bent back the branches, and used the tension to catapult themselves over the high voltage barrier to freedom.
Once they were out, however, the monkeys talked amongst themselves and decided that living in a posh 5-Star resort was at least marginally better than the parking lot. Some returned on their own, and the rest were found "hanging around" near the building, and came back when "bribed with peanuts."
"You may take our lives, but you'll never take... our FRE- oh hell, are those peanuts?"
#3. Chuva the Macaw Hitches a Ride
In April 2009, staff at the Greater Vancouver Zoo panicked when they noticed they had misplaced one of their exhibits, a six-year-old blue and gold macaw (which is a bird, in case you're not up to speed on your zoology) called Chuva, who had a chip on her shoulder and a reputation for being rather "bitey."
Taking advantage of a beautiful spring day, Chuva and her feathered friends were taken from their usual enclosure and allowed to roam the outdoor parrot gardens found at the front of the zoo. The birds' wings had been clipped to ensure they weren't able to take a flight right out of there, so when the keepers realized one of their charges was missing, they weren't too worried because honestly, birds don't run worth a shit.
With some notable exceptions.
But they couldn't find her anywhere, and finally issued a statement beseeching the local community to report any sightings of their AWOL parrot, adding, "We looked everywhere, and couldn't find her, and couldn't find her, and couldn't find her." We assume the zoo was trying to convey that despite searching everywhere once, they couldn't find her three times over, thus conveying that Chuva was a massive 300 percent missing.
Not surprising really, given that Chuva was already some distance away from the zoo and rolling down the highway. Despite her wings being clipped, the parrot had had managed to sneak out of the gardens and into the parking lot, where she hopped aboard a visiting RV and hitched a ride for some 20 miles.
"Alright, Chuva. This is your shot. Your moment.
The zoo staff was delighted to receive the call from the somewhat surprised owners of the vehicle, who found the stowaway when they stopped at a shopping mall. Chuva now presumably spends most of her days ensnaring the attention of the younger birds with ever-more exaggerated tales of her great escape.
"Yeah, I killed 'em both. And a cop. If it hadn't been for the SWAT team, I'd be in Mexico by now."