Zoo Bans Animal Prints for Human Visitors: Creatures Were Getting Confused

Zookeepers say the popularity of zebra, leopard, cheetah and tiger prints is confusing and scaring free-roaming beasts

You know that animal-print dress you pull out for special occasions when you want your look to scream, “I am woman hear me roar?” Just don’t wear it to the zoo, or you might cause actual animals to do the roaring.

The popularity of exotic-print fashions has led zookeepers at Chessington World of Adventures, a safari park in Surrey, England, to require guests to leave their zebra, leopard, cheetah, tiger and giraffe garb at home, after some of the reserve’s beasts became frightened or perplexed by humans dressed in the styles, The Guardian reports.

Visitors drive around the Serengeti-style reserve to view its free-roaming creatures. "Animals are getting confused when they see what looks like zebras and giraffes driving across the terrain in a 7.5 ton truck," Natalie Dilloway, spokesperson for the park, explains to The Guardian.

Dr. Candy D’Sa, an animal behavior consultant, tells the newspaper that certain colors and patterns can be perceived as caution signs by animals.

“For instance, the yellow and black stripe of a bee is there as a warning and leopard print or tiger print will trigger some sort of instinct as well,” she tells the paper. "Movement is also a key trigger. Big cats will start getting interested if someone limps past their enclosure because they look weak. Possibly the worst thing you could do is limp past the lion or tiger enclosure in a zebra print outfit."

Noted.

If you happen to forget the ban, the newspaper adds, the park’s staff will loan you an outfit that's basically the opposite of a fun animal print: gray coveralls. Definitely not a look that will make you roar — but we’d take being a fashion victim over a tiger-attack victim any day.

Lesley Kennedy writes for ShopAtHome.com. Follow ShopAtHome on Twitter @shopathome and Lesley on Google+.

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