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So if you come visit, just howl, honk, or moo

And try to pretend you’re an animal, too.

‘Cause if you’re a person, they’ll throw you into

Cage Two of the zoo here in Animaloo.
Shel Silverstein, "The People Zoo"

Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a zoo created by some alien race or just a plain crazy person that puts live specimens of humans or other intelligent life on display. This is one of the more likely places you'll go if the Egomaniac Hunter doesn't kill you after the Most Dangerous Game.

Only related to Petting Zoo People, in if it's run by an intergalactic hunter it may be filled with them.

Could be called the slightly more civil version of People Farms.

Examples of People Zoo include:

Anime and Manga

  • Gantz has humans taken from an alien invasion and put in a enclosure for the amusement of the invaders.
  • Terraformars have abducted Japanese citizens displayed in glass cells, both men and women alternately though it was also akin to People Farms.
  • Okinodoku Desu ga, Bouken no Sho wa Maou no Mono ni Narimashita has this with the last three Dark Elves after the Demon King burned their forest. The elven princess and her two retainers, experience a Shameful Strip inside a cage before an audience of human buyers.
  • Twin Slaves has two sisters ridden with debt and placed as items in a secret called the 1% Auction. They are displayed in a glass case before the rich elite to be purchased.

Comic Books

  • Marvel Comics' The Collector did this upon occasion.
  • Strange Adventures #108 in the DC Universe.
  • From Beyond the Unknown #14. Possibly related to the comic above.
  • Raptors by Jean Dufaux and Enrico Marini has the Great Council of Vampire, that rule the humans secretly and systematically committing genocide over the centuries. They vote to enslave the remaining humans due once their plans are complete. However even they vampire are not willing to let the human race go extinct and vote to preserve them. Lt.Lenore a human detective that has been on the investigating vampire incidents is captured and informed by the head vampire that humanity will be condemned to zoos and she will be their first zoo animal.
  • Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose Vol. 9 has witches that were captured by a warlock. He stripped them bare and placed them in gibbet cages to use them as livestock to milk their magic but is unsuccessful.


  • In the Disney movie Can Of Worms, a species of alien hunted and put on display one of every intelligent species. Ironically enough, they were not allowed to capture unintelligent species due to an intergalactic law.
  • In the film version of Mars Attacks (Film)!, the Martians include a man in a clown costume (apparently they believe that clowns are animals) among the numerous specimens they have collected from Earth. They also capture a female newscaster and graft her head onto the body of her dog.
  • Another Disney film, Flight of the Navigator has a human boy selected as a specimen by aliens.
  • Learning Curve or Detention (1998) has a substitute teacher who is also a license animal trainer get a class of unruly delinquents to behave. He does this by taking them on a school trip, drugging their water and placing them in a electrified enclosure and stripping them of their clothes.
  • Pawn Shop Chronicles: A man on his honeymoon discovers a ring that belonged to the woman of his first marriage at a pawn shop. After tracking down each person who previously owned the ring he locates Shaw. There he finds his wife caged like an animal broken and filthy. He learns that she is not the only one when he owns a barn where women of are stacked in cages stacked in a pyramid.


  • The book Planet of the Apes has a zoo with a display of people "in their natural habitat". The scientist of the group from Earth is in this display, and has regressed by the time we see him.
    • He had brain damage, and the apes had given him a lobotomy to save his life, not realizing that he had cognitive functions that would be damaged by such a crude operation.
  • The main character in Slaughterhouse-Five gets put into one of these (together with a porn star) by the Tralfamadorians.
  • In the Isaac Asimov story Breeds There A Man?, Earth is implied to be a laboratory experiment by aliens, with mental controls in place to prevent us from developing interstellar travel. Then humans evolve around the mental blocks ...
  • The first Time Machine short story by Donald Keith, "The Day We Explored the Future." A pair of Boy Scouts goes forward in time and is captured by a group of Future Boy Scouts. Their Scoutmaster plans to have them put in a "vivarium".
  • Star Crash by Elysa Hendricks, Cora Daniels, a pilot crashes on an alien world where a sentient race of avians known as Verians are the dominate species and humans are beasts. Cora discovers that she is not alone on the world, and reunites with her lost lover Alex, who had crashed on the planet as well but has forgotten who he is and was reduced as a breeding stud and zoo animal.
  • Izoo by Nancy Robison has the Ice Zoo of Izoo for short. A children’s book where alien women capture specimens from different planets and freeze them in blocks of ice. Among the exhibits are humans children and a man in a chicken costume.
  • Genus Homo by L. Sprague de Camp has intelligent gorillas capturing a the last remnants of humans and placing them in a zoo.
  • Pets: Bach's Story by Darla Phelps has the main character, an alien looking through the inventory of a human petshop. Recent captives taken from Earth are stripped of their clothes, labelled as animals put in cages, and await to be sold as pets or breeders.
  • The Prisoner of Zhamanak by L. Sprague de Camp has a mad alien king trying to force two humans, a man and a woman, of different racial backgrounds to mate just to see if they can breed.
  • Children of the Dust has its first book The Zoo by Eve Vaughn where a mute girl is sold to a alien zoo. Despite possessing a humanoid appearance they see her as animal and attempt to have her breed with a male captive who is gay.
  • Bridgers The Trial of Extinction by Stan C. Smith has a alternate Earth where a race of lemur-like creatures hunt five other intelligent races for sport. Later after humans bridge themselves in their world, they are confined in a area that serves as a zoo for the races the lemurs hunt.
  • What If? by Philip Lemon has a secret government organization that keeps men and women in a zoo where they treat them like animals and conduct experiments. For fun they tattooed a young woman's entire body to make her look like her entire muscular system is exposed.
  • Virtual ThoughtStream by Lee Gimenez has a world where humanity is now and endangered species, and the androids not wishing for humanity to go extinct place them in enclosures barring their freedom to preserve their species.
  • Great Apes by Will Self has this where the apes are the civilized and dominant species, looking somewhat like humans, which are the beats and kept in cages.
  • HOMO SAPIENS, ENDANGERED SPECIES by C.D. Smith has a man forced to mate with several abducted women in a zoo run by his alien handlers.
  • The Cage a short story by A. Bertram Chandler has survivors from a starliner crashing on a jungle planet. The climate of the world eats at the clothing of the survivors forcing them to be naked, and its too moist for fire. Six are captured by an alien survey team and taken to a zoo. Two are dissected while the remaining three men and one woman are placed in enclosures. The humans try to show they are intelligent creatures by weaving baskets, but the aliens misinterpret it as some sort of mating rituals and move the woman into the males' enclosure for them to mate with her. It was only until that the humans caught a pest in a trap did the aliens realize their mistake as only sentient species trap creatures.
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine has a menagerie of magical creatures like centaurs and trolls.
  • In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe, a collector tries to add the Doctor to his collection of near-extinct specimens. In another story, set in the far future, another one tries to abduct Clara Oswald as the last pure blooded human.
  • In Aliens: Extraterrestrial Tales of Terror by Don L. Wulffson, the Dastasian build their invisible waste disposals machines on Earth, drawing humanity to their extinction to conquer the planet. The remaining humans are captured and placed in a zoo.
  • Pet by Asher Ellis, Ray, a blue collar criminal framed for murdering his girlfriend and sentenced to death, finds himself to be in a cage to be the pet of a German aristocrat and his little girl.
  • Pet Store (Spinetinglers #13) by M.T. Coffin, has a town of dogs called Woofburg where dogs are in charge of Woofburg and humans are there to serve them as pets.

Live Action TV

  • The 100 has the Mountain Men, descendants of those that stayed in a bunker at Mt. Weather after nuclear fallout for three generations. Life underground left them unable to withstand the radiation outside, so their scientists came up with a solution to capture Grounders, people who survived on the surface, and drain them of their blood to help them withstand the conditions. Besides harvesting them and caging them like animals, Grounders were used as part of the Cerberus Program to create subservient soldiers.
  • Star Trek did this a couple of times.
  • Occurred in the episode "A Day at the Zoo" of Lost in Space and the two part episode "The Keeper"
  • The Twilight Zone TOS episodes. Carried out in "People Are Alike All Over" and attempted in "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby".
  • The Orville has an intergalactic zoo run by the red-skinned Calivons who view other sentient races that are less technologically advanced than the as animals.

Music Video

Tabletop RPG

  • Terra Primate is set in a post-apocalyptic world where genetically engineered apes took over and the humans are reduced to animals. Explorers entered the Bermuda Triangle and reemerge find their world changed and are captured and placed in a zoo.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has Trazyn the Infinite, the Collector of his kind, he keeps a living museum of sentients and displays them in diorama depicting specific events.

Video Games

  • In Star Control 2 Admiral ZEX has one of these. And he wants you to be his latest addition.
  • This is why Tomator kidnapped The Lost Vikings.
  • Mass Effect has the salarians capturing a yagh and placing it under study during the Reaper Wars.

Web Comics

  • In Drowtales, the humans (or are they very humanlike goblins?) are seen as something in-between true intelligent life and animals, see here (warning: mildly graphic violence). Later, the places are reversed, as the local king orders the arrest of all creatures of elven descent to bathe in their blood.
  • In DreamTales, there is Pygmy Queen where a wild life ranger of an African preserve experiences an episode of Incredible Shrinking Man, sadly her clothes do not include leaving her naked. At the mercy of the poacher who then jars her with the intent to sell her as a pet. She is later joined by her boyfriend Frank who also suffers the same fate. The two are them brought to London to a wealthy buyer where the poacher offers them to her so she can breed them.
  • African Horrors by Templeton has the nation of Twanda where the military dictatorship shows its environmental side by protecting the silverback population in cages. They has keep the women of political opponents there as well. Later an Italian journalist is added to the menagerie being planned to be the mate a the gorilla.
  • Fansadox 174 - Galactic Zoo by Montal has a young woman abducted by hyper-sexed aliens that resembles apes. After raping her and forcing her to mate with a male captive she finds herself in a zoo with two Japanese sumo wrestlers where the situation repeats.

Western Animation

  • Occurred in the episode "A Zoo Out There" of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.
    • Interestingly, two of the aliens running the human zoo in Buzz Lightyear were voiced by Jonathan Harris and Billy Mumy of Lost in Space. A stealth Actor Allusion / Shout-Out?
  • "Operation: Z.O.O." from Codename: Kids Next Door has a zoo of kids.
    • And in another episode there was Bully Island, though the bullies didn't speak or really act human, more like dinosaurs.
  • "The Main Man" from Superman: The Animated Series involved an intergalactic collector that liked to acquire the last of any species in the entire universe. While he included beasts in his collection, he also ended up collecting Superman and Lobo as they were the last known Kryptonian and Czarnian, respectively. Of course that idea didn't end well for him.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Eye of the Beholder"
  • One of the couch gags in The Simpsons puts the titular family in one of these. Run by Kang and Kodos' species, of course.
  • Captain Planet featured an episode where an alien came to incorporate the Planeteers into a collection of doomed species from across the galaxy. Fitting with the series' theme, he thought mankind, treating the Earth as they were, were doomed to extinction.
  • The New Adventures of Superman episode "The Robot of Riga". Aliens kidnap Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane and put them in a cage on their home planet Riga.
  • This was what Regular Show was going to be about before they re-tooled it.
  • Happens in an episode of Fairly Oddparents when Dark Laser put the Turner family in an intergalactic zoo for profit. Timmy's parents don't seem to mind much.
  • Gargoyles: Taro tried to place Goliath, Angela and Bronx in an exhibit for his gargoyle theme amusement park. Later in Goliath Chronicles after it was assumed that the Manhattan Clan was killed by the Quarrymen leaving Angela and Bronx as the only survivors the xenophobic humans decided to place the remaining to into a special facility to study them in captivity.
  • In Steven Universe, Pink Diamond built a zoo that, even after 5, 000 years, holds captive humans, the descendants of humans that she abducted from their families as spoils of war. Or rather, Pink Diamond begged Blue Diamond to let her stop the Hostile Terraforming of Earth and Blue responded by creating the Zoo and telling her little sister to get back to work.

Real Life

  • The Denver Zoo did this once, presumably using volunteers working for charity on pledges. They got complaints from parents and animal rights groups alike.
  • Edinburgh Zoo once held a similar exhibition, using performance artists in an enclosure that used to have ducks in it.
  • In ancient Rome, this was just a normal day at the Colosseum.
  • A pygmy named Ota Benga was kept in the Bronx Zoo in 1906.
    • Many zoos in Europe had "authentic Negro villages" built in them during the 19th century. The people in them were usually at least nominally volunteer and were paid (poorly), but needless to say, it was a quite humiliating practice.
  • Ota Benga's career began at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Most World's Fairs between 1889 and 1939 included human displays of "inferior" (meaning non-white) people in their allegedly natural surroundings, as well as Renaissance-Faire style recreations of old-fashioned European towns. Other human exhibits included celebrities like Helen Keller and occasionally premature babies. Oddly, many of the participants were there willingly.
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