This is a list of features of the species in the Zoo Tycoon series that do not agree with science and are not zoologically accurate.
- Many of the animals are inaccurately sized, often being larger or smaller than they would naturally be. In some cases certain animals are larger than animals they would be smaller than in real life.
- Various animal lifespans are inaccurate.
- Multiple animals perfectly capable of swimming if the need arises in real life are unable to in these games.
- Many animals that are capable of interbreeding in real life cannot do so in the games.
- Herbivores are not coded to fight back against carnivores that can hunt and eat them, even if they would have been able to in real life, such as buffalo and certain dinosaurs.
Zoo Tycoon (2001)
- Both the Greater Flamingo and Giant Anteater are fed hay, when in reality they would eat shrimp and insects, respectively. This was fixed in the sequel, despite only the flamingo returning and not the anteater.
- Ostriches, Red Kangaroos, Ibexes, Markhors and Thomson’s Gazelles do not display sexual dimorphism, and as a result both the males and females look identical. This would later be fixed in Zoo Tycoon 2, where all of said animals do display sexual dimorphism.
- Carnivorous animals are unable to form packs to hunt larger animals, and herding animals are unable to form groups to protect themselves from predators
- Woolly mammoths, giant ground sloths and woolly rhinos are thought to have been able to kill saber-toothed cats in real life, but in the game the saber-toothed cats will eat them.
- Caudipteryx is stated to live in the Jurassic Period, when it actually lived in the early Cretaceous period.
- The fact-files of Tyrannosaurus rex, Apatosaurus and Stegosaurus state that the former is a natural predator of the latter two. This would have been impossible as Tyrannosaurus lived during the Cretaceous period, whilst Apatosaurus and Stegosaurus were both Jurassic dinosaurs whose real natural predator was Allosaurus.
- Most Theropod dinosaurs are shown with an upright stance and pronated hands, both of which were impossible for the real animals.
- Velociraptor and Gallimimus are portrayed as living in coniferous forests. In reality (and in the sequel in the case of the former) they were desert-dwelling animals.
- Meiolania was almost certainly not a tundra animal; Australia during the Miocene (when the largest species of Meiolania live) never had a polar climate.
- Several of the dinosaurs require terrain types that would have been impossible for most of them to live in, such as deciduous forest and grass. The sequel eventually gave some of the dinosaurs that returned more fitting biomes.
- Green sea turtles can’t go on land in game, but can in real life and in the sequel.
- All animals (except the dinosaurs and Meiolania) appear to give live birth, regardless of species, even though some of them lay eggs in real life. Animals that lay eggs would eventually do so in the sequel.
Zoo Tycoon 2
- Red pandas aren't bears (as stated in Zoopedia), and they are only distantly related to the Giant panda, which is a bear. They share the name "panda" because of their diet, bamboo. Red pandas are more closely related to raccoons then bears.
- Ratels are generally weaker than they are in real life. In-game ratels can be killed by most other predators in the game, whearas real ratels are sometimes known to kill buffalo.
- The horns of female bongos are too long, making them resemble male bongos.
- All the larger meat-eating dinosaurs in the game are equally powerful, meaning that Carnotaurus and Stokesosaurus are just as powerful as T. rex, and even have the ability to kill it if they are angry or hungry enough. In reality, Carnotaurus and especially Stokesosaurus, while certainly fearsome predators in their own right, were not nearly as strong as Tyrannosaurus.
- The dromaeosaurids and other dinosaurs are all scantily feathered, and have broken hands. In particular, all three lack wings on their arms.
- The female okapi resembles the male okapi, featuring ossicones, which only the male has.
- Protarchaeopteryx is coded as a medium predator, allowing them to hunt and kill animals as large as mountain gorillas or giant sable antelopes. In reality, they were likely herbivores that occasionally ate insects.
- Carnotauruss arms are too long. In real life they were nearly vestigial.
- The Carnotaurus in the game lacks osteoderms, which it would've had in real life
- Megatherium is portrayed as fully bipedal, when it should be partly bipedal and mostly quadrupedal.
- The majority of the theropod dinosaurs, including Tyrannosaurus and Carnotaurus, have an incorrect posture, standing semi-upright in a way that would not be physically possible for them.
- The Zoopedia lists the greater flamingo's scientific name as Phoenicopterus ruber (the scientific name for the American flamingo), instead of the proper Phoenicopterus roseus.
- The musk ox has a very long tail in the game, while in real life their tail length is only 10 cm long.
- The Zoopedia entries for Styracosaurus and Triceratops state that the latter evolved from the former, and that they were both preyed upon by T. rex and Carnotaurus. Though Styracosaurus is a relative of Triceratops, the two dinosaurs are from different subfamilies, and are thusly not direct relatives; and while Triceratops was indeed contemporary with Tyrannosaurus, Carnotaurus lived on an entirely different continent. Styracosaurus did not live with either theropod.
- Pandas aren't fully herbivorous, they have been known to eat small animals and carcasses.
- In the game, Dodos have many babies at one time. However, it's likely they only laid one egg at a time, judging from the habits of the Nicobar Pigeon.
- The ring-tailed lemur is treated as a strict herbivore even though its real-life diet also includes insects and occasionally small vertebrates.
- Meerkats are capable of preying on animals as large as a red panda in the game. They do not hunt such large prey (in groups or by themselves) in real life.
- Deinosuchus is portrayed as being covered in spikes and having a much more slender skull than their real-life counterparts. In the game, Deinosuchus also prefers the Tropical Rainforest biome, while in reality, it was a saltwater animal that lived along the relatively temperate coast of the American Interior Seaway, although this can be attributed to the fact that Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals on its own does not feature an option for coastal biomes unlike Zoo Tycoon: Dinosaur Digs.
- Ankylosaurus is shown as far more extensively-armored than its real-life counterpart.
- Kentrosaurus is shown as having spines on its hips, rather than its shoulders as in real life, and its plates are far too large.
- Megatherium is portrayed as omnivorous in-game, having meat and fish among the food on its Zookeeper Recommendations. While it’s possible that the giant sloth nibbled on a bit of meat occasionally as many plant-eaters living today are known to do, it was still probably had a herbivorous diet the majority of the time and depicting it as an outright omnivore seems a bit of a stretch.
- The protea wildflowers are not native to North Africa, but rather in most southern parts of the continent.
- The Stokesosaurus is scaled to be somewhat smaller than the later Tyrannosaurus, but the largest fossils indicate that it would've been roughly half as tall as the average person in real life.
Zoo Tycoon (2013)
- The two-toed sloths are made from the same model as the three-toed sloths and as a result feature a flattened face as opposed to the longer snout.
- The model for the Giant Anteater, Northern Tamandua and Southern Tamandua is shared. As a result, the Giant Anteater is undersized and the two tamandua species are portrayed as terrestrial, when they would be arboreal in reality.
- The Pronghorn is listed as an antelope despite being completely unrelated (although this is addressed in Zoopedia).
- Both the Nine-Banded Armadillo and Screaming Hairy Armadillo are shown to roll up into a ball, which is inaccurate for both species. Despite popular belief, only the two species of Three-Banded Armadillo are capable of doing this.
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