Keepers have been known to play practical jokes on one another, but this one has to take the cake.
In addition to his other duties, one particular keeper was responsible for maintaining a large terrarium located in one of the animal department offices which contained only a solitary snake.
The keeper changed the water daily and offered the snake freshly-killed mice regularly. He never saw the snake move, but it seemed to move around a lot when no one was around, and its appetite was good—the mice were always gone by the next morning.
After several months of this routine, the keeper’s fellow workers let him in on the joke: the snake was a fake. They had been sneaking in when he wasn’t around to remove the mice and rearrange the rubber snake into different positions.
He was rather embarrassed, of course, but did manage to see the humor in the situation. And at the annual zoo staff awards night a few months later he received an engraved plaque commemorating the event. This award, aptly named the Golden Nugget Award, consisting of two pieces of dog feces mounted on the plaque, is awarded annually to the most deserving individuals.