A wheelchair user hurtles down a slope towards the waiting jaws of a crocodile. Someone was having a chuckle when they came up with that one, more at runaway political correctness than disabled people we hope. There are some seriously bizarre and funny signs tucked away in the zoos and wildlife parks of the world. Some are dumb, some are witty, some are cruel and some are silly. Some are graphically just plain weird, while others may as well have been written by the animals – who still find a way to have their say. Here’s our compilation of 20 of the best.

Small victory

Ignorance is bliss, eh? Unless that prairie dog, shot (not literally) in Twycross Zoo, England really does have the cheekiest sense of irony.

Can’t you read the sign?

If this bird can read, well it’s crowing disobedience of the most bird-brained kind. Photoshopped but still funny.

Beware of the splatter zone

Splatter zone! the full sign reads. Nice. Unless you didn’t heed the warning. Then not nice. Definitely not nice. A classic from Florida’s Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

Hard habit to break

Never mind the fish, what’s the zoo keeper been smoking? If you want to ask him you’ll have to go to Capron Park Zoo in Massachusetts.

When you know someone’s not enjoying it

If you were attacked, not sure you’d see the funny side of this one. From somewhere in Hicksville.

Friendly warning

What is it about croc and gator keepers that bestows them with the sense of humour of that bullying older cousin you always hated? Unknown location.

Don’t dillydally

A bird’s most potent form of attack. Airborne poop hilarity from a sign in Adventure Aquarium in New Joisey.

Test of faith

Well it beats boring old ‘Beware of the Tiger’. Anyone know where this sign originates from?

If you encounter a mountain lion…

…Use small children as a human shield. The joke’s the photographer’s, who snapped this trail sign in Mountain View in California’s Bay Area.

Zoo keeper says…

“…If you sit on the fence you will fall in.” Taken in Wellington Zoo, New Zealand.

For the animals’ sake

Really, how could eating you harm an animal? As one commenter has it: “They could hurt a nail clawing your guts open or break a tooth eating your brain.” A sign of the times from The Wilds wildlife conservation center in Ohio.

Odour (ode to? give up – ed) a penguin

Aww, cutie little fish-stinking penguin. Thanks for the explanation, Omaha Zoo, Nebraska.

There was only one rule

Que? For those with the weirdest of beastly intentions. Then again, the notice was found in Petting Zoo in Victoria, British Columbia.

Resisting temptation

Taken in Philadelphia Zoo, a photo of another notice aimed at those unable to control their carnal urges faced when faced with the voluptuous beauty of uddered animals. Now where were we?

Just so we’re clear

That told us. We were just about to get stuck into a spot of ruffling. At Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo, California.

Pidgin engrish

We’ll give the food all the monkey we want thank you very much. Any takers on where this was taken?

Fingers are bad for their health

Lost in translation or lost on us? Again, location unknown.

Don’t feed popcorn to the dog with one tooth

It’s the range of possible interpretation that could be attached to this graphic that makes it funny, as various commenters have pointed out. “Please do not mesmerize our animals with cheesy magic tricks,” says one. Another notes that “the stick figure hand only has four fingers – a result of feeding the animals?”
Blame Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle.

It must be the lip gloss…

…Or the stockings and suspenders. Or maybe it’s just those curves and the way it walks. Seriously, though, it’s a strange world we live in when the temperature of a tortoise shell warrants a warning. In Pittsburgh Zoo lies the original.

Meals on wheels

This one may be the inciest bit un-PC, but we found it via the website of a disabled person who finds humour – and finding humour in disability – “a great way to deal with life’s difficult moments”. In any case, it’s a South African sense of humour that’s responsible for the sign, the photo having been taken at a crocodile reservoir around St. Lucia National Park.