Skip to Content

Watch: Dog Enters Gorilla Habitat in San Diego

Stray Dog Enters Gorilla Habitat
Image via NTLA on youtube

Hang on, since when are dogs a zoo exhibit? Apparently, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, dogs share the gorillas’ habitat. No, not really – a stray dog somehow entered the gorillas’ enclosure, leading to a rescue operation having to be conducted.

Read to the end to watch the video!

An Unusual Day at the Zoo

Image via NTLA 5 on youtube

Zoo officials reported that the stray dog, nicknamed Mighty Joe Young by the San Diego County Humane Society, jumped into the enclosure to sniff around, which lead to a nail-biting moment captured on video. 

Dog and Gorilla Face-to-Face

Gorilla. Image by wrangel via Depositphotos

The video showed the gorilla and the dog eying each other carefully, with onlookers trying to help the dog. 

The dog eventually dashed across the habitat, evading the gorilla, who may have thought it wasn’t worth it to pursue – perhaps he saw the dog’s teeth. Zoo staff then safely escorted the gorilla away, allowing Humane Society officers to rescue the dog.

Humane Society Steps In

Stray Dog Enters Gorilla Habitat
Image via NTLA 5 on youtube

The zoo mentioned that using recall training to handle such incidents is a standard safety measure. The Humane Society took Mighty Joe Young to its Escondido Campus to care for him while they looked for his owner. 

Identifying the Stray

Image via NTLA 5

Without a microchip, the male shepherd was checked by veterinarians who treated him for ticks, vaccinated him, and ensured he was neutered. Despite his adventure and a visit to the vet, Mighty Joe Young appeared to be in good spirits.

Meatball Finds His Way Home

Image of Meatball via NTLA 5

The story took a happy turn when Meatball, Mighty Joe Young’s real name given to him by his hoomans, was reunited with his family a few days later. 

The San Diego Humane Society shared the news. Expressing relief and happiness that the dog and zoo inhabitants were safe after the incident. 

The Importance of Pet Safety and Community Efforts

This peculiar tale highlights the importance of pet safety and the efforts of animal care organizations to protect and reunite lost pets with their owners.

The Video

YouTube video
“Stray dog wanders into gorilla habitat at San Diego Zoo Safari Park” via KTLA 5 on youtube

Join our Forum for free today!

Animal Forum
Click Here

Matt Franklin

Friday 22nd of March 2024

This is mainly to the previous replies. I've grown up around animals all my life... grown up with show dogs... Worked as a vet tech at a Humane society, vet clinics, boarding kennels, etc... You guys are a bit judgemental... I agree, the owner could have, should have done better... But sometimes things just happen. If we really got down to the nitty-gritty, if we went by the standards my family had for ownership of the dogs we had, there would be very few dogs as pets. They had to have a fence, microchipped (as that technology became available), pet-quality dogs had to be spayed or neutered... There was a long list... Most people can't afford things, especially with the increase of the price of vet care (I blame corporate run veterinary clinics for this, as prices are WAY over priced. I see prices for a simple spay or neuter that are 3 times what it should be. Vets now tell people that a female in heat cost more money to spay because of complications. This is a lie! Either that, or I question their capabilities. It's an excuse to charge more money. I'll say it to any vets face that says otherwise. The same with waiting a year to spay or neuter. By the time they reach that age, hormone related behaviors are established. And there really is no evidence of health issues at a young age... Technology has made some clinics do some amazing work however they've also gotten lazy. Any vet clinic that sends out a fecal exam for testing is really questionable in my books!). Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that you people have standards. Unfortunately because of the costs of things now, many people simply can't afford proper vet care. I do not blame the people. I blame society for allowing these corporations to take over vet care. I personally have bearded dragons. I see these big chain pet stores selling kits for bearded dragons. The kits are pretty much worthless. They contain the wrong lights and the wrong equipment. Without the proper lights, a bearded dragon will develop Metabolic Bone Disease sometimes in a matter of weeks if they're young enough. Nobody holds them accountable. If you look on YouTube and do a search you will find evidence of where these pet stores are throwing away live animals in a plastic bag in dumpsters to die. Why don't you speak up against that... I can go on and on but what's the point?

Sunday 24th of March 2024

I don't think he did he is just speaking his opinion and I agree with him


Saturday 23rd of March 2024

@Matt Franklin, WHAAAAAAAT?! 😂😂. You went off the road a little here sir..


Thursday 21st of March 2024

Dog should not be returned to the careless owners. Not chipped? No collar? No licensing? No love.

And how exactly is the gorilla pit unsafe enough for a dog to get into?


Sunday 24th of March 2024

@s!n'cere, My dogs certainly do not get lose all the time they are chipped for safety and responsibility issues. It’s common sense.🤦🏼‍♀️

Saturday 23rd of March 2024



Saturday 23rd of March 2024

NO… no it’s not a stray dog. Read the entire article. The dogs owner came to claim him..


Saturday 23rd of March 2024

@s!n'cere, SERIOUSLY? The fact you say pets get loose all the time? NO, no they do not. What does one do if the pet DOES get out? Hope it comes home? Or you have a chip, that simply tells you who the fur child belongs to, I hope you do not even have a pet rock, never mind a living animal

Saturday 23rd of March 2024

@Colleen, it's a stray dog doofus

Jonny C

Thursday 21st of March 2024

Very funny! But a nothing burger with extra cheeze. The poor gorilla and dog would have probably been friends. But that would blow the whole narrative that we should all live in fear. Leave it all up to the trained experts! Right Linnea? Lol!

Grizzly Bear Spotted Feet From Alaskan Campsite Top 10 States With The Most Cougar Top 10 States With The Most Moose Top 10 States With The Most Coyote Top 10 States With The Most Elk