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Zookeepers Discuss Whether Or Not Animals Are Actually Being Treated Well In Captivity.

Zookeepers Discuss Whether Or Not Animals Are Actually Being Treated Well In Captivity.

People who work in zoos were asked: "Do you morally believe that the animals are being treated well? What are your stories?" These are some of the most insightful answers.

It should be shut down and those animals should be sent to zoos or rehabilitation centres where they can have some semblance of a life. Releasing them into the wild just isn't an option since some of these animals are 4th-gen born in captivity. But they deserve better.

The man who owns the park cares NOTHING for animals. Absolutely nothing. I can attest to that first hand as I have witnessed him murder wild animals because they are "pests".


2/20 I have been a zookeeper, aquarist, and have graduate credentials in animal behavior, have published over a dozen peer reviewed papers. I have worked for and with a few major industry leaders including Sea World and Disney. I have worked with reptiles, fish, marine mammals, and several large predators.

The question posed is do the workers in zoos/aquariums think animals are being treated well. The short answer is "yes", otherwise we wouldn't work there. We work [bad] schedules in [bad] conditions because we value the care of animals and the potential for educating the public. Zoo/aquarium workers can and do report poor care of animals but you need to realize that all large accredited institutions greatly exceed the standards for animal care put forth by the USDA. AZA is a voluntary accreditation agency with higher standards but also functions as a lobbyist for the industry.

This debate will go on forever because this a philosophical question that has no "right" answer. On one end of the spectrum you have the belief that no animal (including pets) should be kept in captivity, and that the people that do so are evil. Most people (including animal caregivers) are somewhere in the middle obviously. Even within a team of caregivers, I have witnessed many heated debates about care, enrichment and end of life decisions.

AZA has just gone through a long process of upgrading their standards for Elephant care. That has led to many zoos giving up their elephants or spending millions to upgrade their facilities. Other species with complex social lives are likely to get scrutiny next.

I'm using a throwaway so I'll say candidly that I don't think Orcas can be ethically kept in captivity. I say that based on research done on both captive and wild animals. But that is ultimately my personal opinion. I believe the best thing I can do is work to improve the lives of already captive animals. Public opinion and business interests will insure that they will be in human care for decades to come.

I would ask that when you participate in this debate you always make a distinction between the motivations of the corporations that run zoos and aquariums and the low level employees that risk their lives, financial comfort, etc to provide care to animals.


3/20 I've volunteered as a researcher at a zoo for a couple of years, and I can honestly say that most animals seem pretty content to just be fed and then laze around. All of my feelings on this are definitely assuming "adequate" facilities (i don't think there is any adequate facility for dolphins or whales). Some animals can have trouble yes, and some will pace constantly, appear unhappy, or suffer physically from stress, but given enough room and the right conditions, a lion is happy to spend it's time doing what cats generally do, being extremely lazy, which is the same with most predators. They conserve energy in the wild because what they do isn't easy, and most will rest when not required to hunt, this is why there is always footage of lions asleep in the shade, they're conserving energy.

Your general bog standard herbivore (one that isn't an elephant) is likely to not even have the full capability to understand that what it's going at present is any different to what it's supposed to do, I.e. walk around munching grass. Apes however I think are a different matter, and I'm often torn on keeping great apes in captivity, but fundamentally believe they should not be kept in zoos, more as a moral standpoint than by evidence, because I've seen gorillas and chimps in zoos that seem pretty happy in a family group, playing and interacting with each other. If on their own though, I don't like it at all, they are social and should be kept as such if they must be kept at all. Elephants I feel the same about, and as I'll mention below, this ties in with how I feel about dolphins and whales being kept in captivity, intelligence, range, social interaction.

As someone that studies marine biology though, I think sea world is an awful place. Keeping social animals that would spend their lives roaming hundreds of thousands of miles in a life time, or over territories of dozens/hundreds of square miles, is horrible. Sure we can say that doing tricks keeps them enriched, but I don't believe that the animals are living the life they would normally live, with the ability to roam, interact with all sorts of amazing things, and be part of a family group that sends their entire lives together. A tiger in the wild will do sleep, rest and groom, then hunt, eat and repeat to conserve energy. A dolphin will call a friend by "name" to come and investigate something novel (such as a machine that creates bubbles, or an animal it has never seen before), this curiosity. I fully agree with calling them non-human persons.


4/20 I volunteered at a zoo for a while back in high school. I only worked with the birds, so that's all I can vouch for, but I can say that they received EXCELLENT care. Their food was fresh, high-quality, and varied at least a little every day to keep them from getting bored (e.g., different herbs used for "garnishes", or switching between nuts and grubs as protein treats). We spent our break time making toys and other "enrichment" tools to keep the birds entertained, and spent lots of time training birds and interacting with the ones that liked human interaction. We also varied their environments to keep things interesting (e.g., at Christmas we put real or fake evergreens in their cages for a change of scenery and perch texture). Their cages were as clean as was possible to make them - I know, because I scrubbed the damn things! I got to help one of the keepers take an injured guinea fowl to the vet, and I was astounded at both the size and cleanliness of the vet building. All of the bird keepers really, really loved their jobs, because why else would they work such a stressful job for so little pay? They worked really hard to keep the birds happy and, most importantly, comfortable enough to breed. They kept meticulous records of the birds' genetics and were very focused on captive breeding. For example, I got to hand-feed a pair of Micronesian Kingfishers whose subspecies is extinct in the wild. They were still very shy and hadn't bred yet, but the keepers were slowly making them more comfortable in the hopes that they'd reproduce. We even developed an exercise program for a male St. Vincent Amazon parrot who came to the zoo too fat to fly; the keepers wanted him healthy and happy so they could introduce him to their female. He was cranky, but he was making progress!

I think good, modern, captive breeding-oriented zoos can provide excellent care for their animals, and serve as an invaluable tool for public education and conservation. However, such a high level of care only comes from lots of money, research, and devoted staff. The wild is definitely the best place for animals, and I think that if the animal is only being kept for entertainment or is being kept in an unsuitable facility, then that is absolutely cruel.


5/20 I volunteered a smaller, but accredited zoo for several years while in high school. I was only allowed to work unsupervised with some of the less dangerous animals. While I wasn't allowed to provide care for the larger animals, I was given the opportunity several times to accompany a keeper while they worked in their enclosures. I have seen or been in the back areas for nearly every animal at that zoo and I knew most of the keepers.

What I can definitively say is that they did their absolute best to provide suitable and healthful care of each and every animal under their care. They legitimately cared about their job and the lives of the animals they were responsible for. Admittedly captivity isn't the best scenario for many species of animal, but it can be made more hospitable.


6/20 I worked at both SeaWorld in their Zoological department and a privately owned aquarium. I have volunteered at animal shelters and have been working with animals for about 6 years. I can honestly and wholeheartedly say that the animals at SeaWorld and the aquarium are very well taken care of and as close to "happy" as an animal can be. Keep in mind that I resigned from my position at SeaWorld due to a family emergency and I have no obligation to tell anything but the truth. The majority of the animals there were born under the care of man or were rescued and deemed unreleasable. Animal captivity is crucial in the study of our natural world. The best way that I see fit to describe the animals at SeaWorld is "content," I don't like to humanize the emotions of animals because obviously they can't communicate with me to say that they are happy or sad, so I just use the term "content" when giving public talks about captivity. The easiest proof of this is the success of their breeding programs. As a general rule, wild animals will not breed in an environment where they are not content or where they foresee difficulties in raising their young. Therefore, as long as an animal is breeding and eating, you can safely assume that they are content. The makers of Blackfish clearly had a "free the whales" type agenda which really isn't helping anyone. Marine mammals raised in captivity can not safely be released. These animals must remain in the care of man for the foreseeable future, regardless of what a "documentary" says.


7/20 I think a lot of zoo goers are ignorant and that's how rumors about abuse gets spread.

I was at a zoo with a bald eagle on display. I've never seen one on display at any other zoo, I suspect American zoos won't keep them because of how butthurt these kind of people get.... Anyway, there was a family getting really upset that the eagle was in a cage and that it couldn't be "free" and flying. The whole time they were [complaining], not one looked at the sign on the cage explaining he had a been given to the zoo by a wildlife rescue that couldn't fix his wing. So if he were "free in the wild" he'd be "a starved pile of feathers and bones"

These are the kind of people that can't understand how many animals would be dead if not for zoo efforts.


8/20 I don't work in a zoo, but rather a pet store that deals very closely with cat adoption through the RSPCA. I get a lot of [crap] from people I know because clearly all pet stores abuse animals, we never clean our fish tanks and our adoption cats are kept in filthy cages and never fed.

Today I cleaned out all 800 litres of fish tanks, cleaned the inside and outside of the glass, took out sick fish and treated them in our hospital tanks, fed all of them by hand, completely cleaned out the cat cages and refilled their water every hour so it didn't get warm because of the weather. Despite how high the bills are, we keep the air conditioning set to the perfect temperature for our cats and it is never turned off. They are taken out and cuddled and played with every morning and every night at the very least.

We love our animals. They are our first priority. I love my job, I love ensuring that those poor abandoned cats and kittens find great homes and get the best items available to them. I think they're happy, and happier when they go to their new homes. We're not a permanent solution but it makes us happy to see them happy, so it makes sense to keep them that way.


9/20 I volunteered at a zoo in high school. Our animals were mostly rescues. The bears came from a circus and had been de-clawed, the tigers came from a circus and had their teeth capped. When I worked there it was a pretty nice little zoo. Lots of educational programs and enrichment programs for the animals. Our gorilla was pretty old and had actually spent the 60's in a little room in a shopping mall where shoppers could watch him sit there and watch tv. I felt good about what they were trying to do. They did a lot to raise money for anti-poaching programs where they would hire poachers to help nab other poachers. I loved it.

Then Hurricane Ivan came and destroyed everything. Not sure if ownership changed but they lost their AZA accreditation and it went downhill from there. They hired a new veterinarian and animals started dropping dead left and right. I had a rhino friend that lived there that I spent a lot of time with cleaning his enclosure, feeding him, petting and scratching his folds and letting him suck on my leg. He was my homie. Within just a couple years of the change he died along with his mother. No, to answer the question, the animals are not content. They are bored. The zoo ended the docent program and the program with the local colleges. They tried to run on a skeleton crew and it wasn't enough. No more volunteers working on enrichment programs with the animals and building better enclosures. The chimps are so angry they try to hit people with sticks or anything else they can find. Now I just feel sadness when I go. I always told people that we were doing the right thing by teaching children about why it's important to care for these animals, but I don't think I believe that anymore.


10/20 I currently work in the children's zoo of an AZA accredited zoo, so I can only really speak for AZA zoos and not any others. The animals are treated way better than I think most people are. I am hoping to become a legit keeper one day and have slowly realized how difficult it is. Zookeeper jobs are very difficult to get and they don't pay very well either. You work in all types of conditions from blizzards to 100 degree weather. You don't get snow days. Animal care comes first. That is the responsibility zookeepers sign up for. So the people who are hired are typically pretty passionate about animals and would never mistreat them. Also you always work weekends (the more senior you are you might be able to get a Saturday or Sunday off) and your schedule may be 7am-5pm, but more often than not you're staying later. Also zookeepers who live closest to the zoo are usually "oncall" just in case a keeper is require in the middle of the night. You're taking care of an animal that requires daily attention. It isn't a walk in the park, cuddle with animals all day job, so most people are highly dedicated individuals who really want to provide the best for these amazing animals. I also watched Blackfish and if my memory serves me correctly one of the trainers were talking about how they got into Seaworld and being a trainer. I believe they said they saw an opening for it thought it looked interesting and got hired with little to no background in animal care. 30 years ago it might have been like that, but much more is required of you to be considered for hire at AZA zoos.

Zoos also have a nutritionist that takes care of the animals diets. They are specialized specifically in exotic animal diets and are constantly changing and finding the best foods for each animal. Besides that zoo keepers always monitor who is eating who isn't eating and usually any significant leftovers are weighed and logged into books. Lots of book logging on everyone.

Enrichment is a big thing too. Animals get bored too, just like people. It's normal it's natural and it's not an "omg that animal is so bored they must be freed into the wild immediately or they will die" situation. Yes too much boredom is bad, but keepers do their best to provide all sorts of different enrichment every day. Again the enrichment is designed specifically for the animal. It's not the same for all of them. One of my favorite enrichments was taking a large paper bag and placing scraps of newspaper, meal worms, and scents inside the bag which was placed in a ball pit for our armadillos to dig through and find the meal worms and sniff out the smells. It was super adorable.

In my honest opinion I think these types of zoos do everything they can to make the animals comfortable and happy. It will never be exactly like living in the wild, but they will try damn hard to make it as close as possible. Any animal in captivity now at our zoos I would never recommend releasing into the wild. I don't think that works. A big factor that zoos provide these animals is the ability to survive and thrive. I always hear people say "well they don't have that vast land to roam that is such a tiny space." Well we have experts who tell us the amount of space needed for these animals. They don't require 100's of acres of land because we provide them with food, water and shelter, which is for many animals the reason why they are constantly moving around. And without zoos there would be a lot more extinct wildlife out there. I'm not as educated on this matter, but I know a lot of zoos do try breeding animals as well to hopefully repopulate and prevent certain species from going completely extinct. They really try their best and we do our best to educate the public and hopefully have them gain an appreciation for animals.


11/20 I work at SeaWorld Orlando, in the Education department. I know a lot of you will stop reading and hate me regardless right now, and that's fine, to each their own. But I can tell you, from personal experience and observation, that I have never been to a facility that treats their animals better. I have worked and volunteered at two other zoos, both AZA accredited (just like SeaWorld is), and because of SeaWorld's vast resources they do an exceptionally fine job of taking care of their animals. This includes both enrichment activities, such as toys, as well as an (over)abundance of food for them to consume, and a lot more space than people think when they first see them. I cannot speak more highly of the Animal Care staff at SeaWorld, because they truly do a phenomenal job.


12/20 I work at the Audubon Zoo for 6 years now. And I'm pretty sure the animals I work with live better than I do. I know that in movies they show the bad keepers but in all my time I've never seen the animals poorly. They get the best and freshest foods and I'm often jealous as I prepare their food. We also go to great lengths to provide them with fun enrichment. I've spent all day before making giant fruit Popsicles for the gorillas. And it's always worth it to see how excited they get when they see them


13/20 Wildlife biology major here. I interned as a zookeeper in college. There are two kinds of zoos. One is accredited with the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums), and the other is a person with a lot of pets that hires people to take care of them then calls themselves a zoo. Accredited ones get inspections for cleanliness, ethical treatment, quality of facilities, etc. They're not perfect, but they do as best they can with their resources. The other kind is usually the roadside attraction park that gives the good ones a bad name. At the one I was at, we would scrub and disinfect enclosures daily, provide entertainment for the animals, and had a crew of professional exotic veterinarians on staff to tend to anything that may come up. We tried as best as we could to replicate natural conditions, but obviously some can't be copied.

The primary responsibility of zoos is education. If people don't know about an animal, they don't care about it. When someone sees it, they can get an appreciation for them that doesn't come from YouTube or documentaries. If a few have to be in captivity to generate public sympathy and encourage conservation efforts, then I feel that it's a fair trade off. Some animals exist only in captivity now and can possibility be reintroduced to the wild later.


14/20 I've worked with sharks, sea turtles, fish (large aquariums), parrots, and reptiles. I worked at the one park off and on for about 10 years. My girlfriend has worked as intern at many aquariums, worked at a zoo, and is now a dolphin trainer at Sea World. My brother is a dolphin trainer and so are many of my friends.

The animals where I worked got the best care. When prepping food for the animals the general rules were, "If you wouldn't eat it, don't serve it to the animals." Obviously this rule didn't apply well to the sharks/fish since most people aren't a fan of raw capelin, but you get the idea. The veterinarian reviewed and approved diets and her word was gold. She trumped everyone including the park owners. If she said to do something, it was done.

The reptiles were the easiest to take care of as they didn't require any enrichment (keeping the animal entertained). Snakes do pretty well in human care. The more intelligent animals are the ones that require more care.

We had about 30 parrots and most of those were donated by people that didn't want their pet anymore or whose owners have died. A parrot living longer than it's owner is very common, but I digress. The parrots ate twice a day. Their food was a mixture of fresh fruit and veggies mixed with parrot kibble. They would get the occasional treat, usually a cookie or animal cracker. They had access to water and sometimes we would mix in some fruit juice.

Bird will tear up their toys pretty quickly and it can get pretty expensive. When we had downtime we would create new toys using string, paper, cardboard, or wood. Some of the birds would tear about a wood block in a day.

We had a giant room with a rain forest setting. The birds would spend some of their day in the rain forest area and some of their day outside. We would rotate them so they all got equal times.

At night they slept in the same room in their own enclosures. The room was cleaned twice a day. And I mean scrubbed with soap, twice a day.


15/20 I work at an AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) zoo, but in guest services. I have come to know the keepers, education staff, and animals really well. The zoo that I work at is very realistic with what animals they will and will not keep. If our climate is not fitting for a certain animals, you will not see that animal in our zoo. The vast majority (if not all) of our animals were either injured/blinded/abandoned in the wild or born and raised in captivity, leaving them unable to survive in the wild. For the most part, their enclosures either try to be as close to their natural habitat, or they are a healthy alternative. (Coatimundis obviously wouldn't have a hammock in the wild, but hot damn, does he love his hammock.)

The animals have access to shelter and water 24/7, they are never forced to stay outside and in sight of people. We have a few interactive animals, and they absolutely love the people. We have staff out the wazoo making sure our animals are happy and safe at all times.

Like others have said, zoos are mostly about education. If people don't know about animals, they won't care about animals. We have an entire education staff that does programs everyday both at the zoo and out at schools, community functions, and other such events. They teach about wild animals that we have at our zoo, and animals that we do not have. They will even talk about exotic animals that people keep as pets, which occasionally end up as one of our education animals. Like cockatoos. Birds like this are very needy, and it's like dealing with a toddler constantly. An animal like this is much happier in a setting where there is constantly staff around working with them, instead of in someone's house in a cage.


16/20 I am a veterinarian that works full-time on wildlife and zoo animals. The bottom-line is that the vast majority of zoos have undergone a massive evolution in their mission statements and approaches to animal care. Most zoos now treat education and conservation as their utmost purposes, which is certainly a change from how zoos were when they were first created.

Over time, I have worked or volunteered at 10 zoos, aquaria, and wildlife rehabilitation institutions. The overwhelming majority of people at these places are unbelievably passionate about wildlife conservation, animal welfare, and educating the public about these animals so that they can make a difference in the global populations.

I have, however, personally worked with a zoo that was run by a man whose goals were not nearly as admirable, and it was a travesty. Needless to say, I do not work with them anymore, and they have since lost their accreditation. This was, by far, the exception to the rule. Unfortunately, these places, although fewer and fewer in number, are the reason people get so angry about zoological parks.


17/20 Former zookeeper here. One thing to keep in mind about movies such as Blackfish is that they all have an agenda. With media, it is extremely easy to skew how something looks to an outsider without giving the whole picture. I would have to say that how an animal is treated in captivity is completely dependent on the place and the people working there. Each case will be different. However, like one person has already said, breeding programs are a really great indicator of how "content" an animal is in captivity. Animals flat out will not reproduce unless their conditions are such that they feel their young will survive. If they are stressed, or feel threatened, it won't happen. And while most people do not agree with animals in captivity, most of the animals were born in captivity. The days of capturing animals in the wild have long passed. So while they are still 'wild' and have their instincts, they aren't longing for past days where they would roam free. The zoos are their homes. That's all that they know. They get steady food, have nothing to want for.

We tend to over humanize animals. Yes, they can get bored, or angry, or seem content. But when a leopard is sitting in his exhibit staring blankly into the air, it's not something to be pitied! What do you think a leopard is doing in the wild? When they aren't hunting, they are sitting in a tree/on the ground/anywhere staring blankly into the air. Most zoos try their best to recreate a normal environment (within reason), but we need to make sure to not push our feelings on the animals.


18/20 In my experience's working at zoos I've never come across a case of an animal being mistreated. It simply would not be tolerated by any member of the staff or volunteer staff. The quality of life of the animal is the #1 priority and I absolutely believe that zoos are able to fulfill this.

That being said; not all zoos are created equal and if a zoo is not an accredited institution then many times (NOT always) it will have animals in sub-par living conditions. Enclosures in the last 50 years have improved drastically from being just cement pits and cages to actual mini-habitats for the animals that closely resemble the wild in every aspect but shear size.

One of my favorite parts of working with animals is designing and implementing "enrichment" which means basically giving animals new and interesting things/foods/activities for them to interact with. At the zoos I worked at we would implement new things everyday, whether it be providing a new rope swing, forage or even rearranging an enclosure so that it is "new" to the animal.

As for your point about BlackFish I actually have some connections to sea world who have told me there are many discrepancies and flat out lies in the movie. But I agree with the overall message of the movie even though I am an advocate for Zoos. There are certain animals that do not do well and should not be kept in captivity. I don't believe Orcas, dolphins or porpoises should be kept in captivity due to their intelligence and extremely high energy levels. There simply are not enclosures large enough to give them a great quality of life.

This may be a little off topic but the main reason I love Zoos is that they provide an extremely invaluable service to animal welfare and conservation as a whole and are able to teach the public (especially children) to love and appreciate animals. At zoo's I worked at we never taught the young children anything about the endangered status of animals because often times when a child is taught the cruel reality of a situation the only coping mechanism they know is to distance themselves from it. So our goal was to teach children to love the world before teaching them to change it.

As for the conservation aspect, zoo's have been able to conserve a number of species that no longer exist in the wild. They do this both to maintain genetic diversity on earth but also with the hopes of someday repopulating an area with these species. If I'm unable to secure a zoo vet position I plan on dedicating my life to wildlife conservation in Africa because we truly are losing the wild and I think that's a terrible thing to pass on to future generations.


19/20 I used to volunteer at the Oregon coast aquarium (where they held Keiko/Free Willy before release) and did some animal husbandry programs there.

The vast majority of our more intelligent animals were in the aquarium because they couldn't live in the wild. Every single mammal we had (otters, sea lions, seals, keiko) was a case of rehabilitation gone bad or an animal that was bred in another zoo/aquarium. In both cases these animals will likely die if they're released into the wild since they cannot fend for themselves, so I really don't see an evil or moral ambiguity in keeping them. Pardon the analogy but a lot of the animals you see in zoos are "special" members of their species.

Other animals that we had like fish were simply too stupid to realize that anything has changed. This is something I don't think a lot of people realize when they try to humanize animals too much: most animals are pretty dumb, and don't understand the concept of being in captivity.


20/20 Zookeeper here. In some places they are treated well, in some places not so well.

Zoos were created for the wrong reasons, now they can be used positively. They generate revenue to be ploughed into in-situ conservation and awareness. Arguing about holding animals in captivity is a waste of time at the moment, natural habitats will be gone very soon and peoples energy and resources should be devoted to protecting them. Worry about captive animals when the wild environments are safe, otherwise the only place left for them to live will be captivity and nobody wants that.

In the end though, it's all doomed. There are too many humans and in 25 years there will be another 3 billion of us. We're too stupid and short-sighted to prevent most of the natural world being destroyed during the remainder of our lifetimes. Keep the captive stock, because otherwise you'll never see the likes of tigers and gorillas again.



People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.