The man had only been working at the zoo for a week when
he was asked to show round a group of foreign tourists. One
of the women asked him what the difference was between
echidnas and porcupines.
“The echidnas pricks are longer,” he replied.
The answer caused great discomfort amongst the group and
once they had gone the boss took him to one side and asked
him to be more careful with his choice of words in the
“It’s quills,” he said, “use the word quills.”
A couple of weeks later another group of tourists were doing
“Heh, look at that porcupine,” said one of them.
“No Sir,” corrected the zoo keeper, “it’s an echidna. It’s
smaller, not so dark and it’s quills are longer … but their
pricks are about the same size.”