Animal Diaries Archive
Killer Sock Tan
29 July 2005Working as a zoo keeper can have its benefits and negatives. One of the negatives would have to be developing (and living with) the dreaded sock tan. For people who are unfamiliar with the sock tan, here is the definition: a sock tan occurs due to the constant wearing of socks and boots. It is when your foot and ankle are whiter then the rest of your leg, which is nicely tanned from the sun. This creates the illusion that you are always wearing white socks.
While at work this sock tan is not a problem as it is not noticed, however after work or on days off this dreaded and obvious circumstance can be quite an embarrassment. Many a time we have received the weird and mocking eye of people as we walk through shopping centres wearing thongs and shorts, forgetting that this look of our nicely tanned legs and ghostly white feet can be quite strange to many people.
When keepers are lucky and go on holidays they usually will spend many hours at the beach with their feet pointing high into the sun hoping that they will tan. However give them a couple of days at work and that good old sock tan will soon be back – it's as if the socks suck the colour right out of your skin!
Many people will tell you that having a sock tan is very embarrassing and annoying. But I can tell you that none of us would give up a job that allows us to spend nice sunny days out in the fresh air looking after the wonderful animals that we have, even if it does mean our feet resemble the phantom presence of feet that once were.
(Volunteers – don't be scared of the sock tan, we still need you!)