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Man known as Tattooed Zookeeper helping kids learn about exotic animals

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Posted at 1:26 PM, Sep 27, 2022

LANSING, Mich. — A Michigan man who loves nature is sharing his passion on YouTube.

The Tattooed Zookeeper keeps a steady stream of videos available for download, and kids all over can’t seem to get enough!

Lansing resident Sean Murphy is the Tattooed Zookeeper. He is on a mission to educate others on the natural world, particularly reptiles and amphibians. So, he started a YouTube channel where Murphy says he can inspire a new generation of scientists.

“I started these videos during COVID. Schools were shut down. Parents didn’t really know what to do with their kids. I had already been actively posting photos from work, when I was a zookeeper on my Instagram page," Murphy said. "I’ve had two or three parents message me and say, ‘hey, my kids really liked the photos you posted. Can you post more? Can you maybe do some videos?”

Courtney Lowers from Owosso and her 3-year-old daughter Charlotte are fans of Murphy’s videos. Courtney says Charlotte can spend hours online watching the videos.

“She’ll go down the YouTube rabbit hole for like hours," Lowers said. "It’s probably not the best parenting, but she gets so much information from it that it’s hard for us to say no because she picks it up that way.”

Murphy says he spends his free time working on the videos each week. Each video includes an introduction to the animal followed by a story read by Sean.

“I don’t read the stories beforehand. I kind of like being surprised by what’s in them," he said. "There are a few videos where I’m laughing out loud in the middle because I didn’t expect anything to happen. But I think it makes it more fun. I like things to be genuine. I never edit my videos.”

Calla Vandenberg says her son Gus is intrigued by Murphy and his videos. She appreciates that he spends his free time educating kids about animals many people are fearful of.

“He’s a good neighbor because he takes the time to educate kids about different animals that we a lot of times don’t get much exposure to in Michigan. I think he really creates interest," Vandenberg said.

We couldn’t agree more!

That’s why we want to thank Sean Murphy, the Tattooed Zookeeper, who is this week’s Good Neighbor.

Bob Hoffman and Russell Shellberg at WSYM first reported this story.