Animal Rentals Blog


  1. THAT’S NO CROCODILE SMILE

    April 27, 2014 by Mindy the Monkey

    One of the great things about the IQ Zoo that is coming soon to our Animal Rentals website is that you can see pictures of me and my animal friends, and learn some interesting facts about us.  But if you want to know even more about who we really are and what its like to live and work with exotic animals every day, then this blog is the place to be and I’m the monkey that can give you the true 411!

    One of the most mysterious members of our animal family is Purse the American Alligator.  I know you are probably wondering why he is an “American” Alligator instead of just an Alligator.  Well there is actually another species of alligator called the Chinese Alligator.  Even though Purse likes a good Peking Duck, he is 100% American.

    Purse is very gentle, and probably the most mellow alligator you will ever meet.  I love this picture of him sunbathing at one of our College Entertainment shows…it is the perfect pose to show his laid-back nature.

    But even though Purse is very friendly with people, my animal friends and I tend to stay as far away from him as possible.  Alligators are carnivores…meat eaters, and I just don’t trust that Purse has completely overcome his 65-plus million year old reptilian nature.  So when he smiles at people, I think Purse is having fun.  But when he smiles at me, I think he is sizing me up as an afternoon snack!

    Some people think Purse’s name is cruel.  But Purse has a good sense of humor and he actually thinks it is pretty funny.  Plus he likes how it reminds people that animal skins look better on animals than on people.  Purse is kind of wise and sarcastic at the same time.  He really is a mystery to me!

    So next time you find yourself in charge of planning a party, fair, corporate event or college event, why not invite Purse and some of the rest of us for an Animal Show, Petting Zoo or Exotic Animal Display?  I guarantee you will never forget holding a genuine live alligator…and Purse will love it too!


  2. GET READY FOR THE IQ ZOO!

    April 16, 2014 by Mindy the Monkey

    What an exciting and exhausting Spring it has been!  Dad and I have been busier than a centipede at a shoe store, and loving every minute of it.  I just made up the centipede at a shoe store line…I thought it was hilarious but dad just rolled his eyes.

    Anyway, this has really been an action-packed season for us.  We have done more College Entertainment shows this year than ever before…26 colleges from January through April!  We have been in or driven through practically every state east of the Mississippi, and some to the west of it too.  My exotic animal friends and I have also done several Animal Shows and private parties in the Chicago area.  But the big news is the all the new things that dad and I are working on, including my very own “Mindy the Monkey’s IQ Zoo”.

    My IQ Zoo will soon be on our website – which dad and I have been working furiously on updating over the past several weeks. At the IQ Zoo you’ll have a chance to online-meet and learn about all of the different exotic animals that I live and work and travel with.  It’s a great way to learn more about me and some of my Animal Rentals friends that you may have already met at a fair, festival, convention or trade show, or to discover which animals you’d like to meet in person when you book an animal show, display or petting zoo for your next party or event.   It’s also a great way to learn about animals you may never have even heard of before – like a Fennec Fox or a Geoffroy Cat.

    Stay tuned for more updates and the exciting grand opening of my “Mindy the Monkey’s IQ Zoo” on our website, animalrentals.com.  I’ll keep you updated as we go along.  I’ve got to get back to work now!


  3. A MONKEY’S APRIL FOOLS’ DAY

    April 2, 2013 by Mindy the Monkey

    When you are a monkey April first isn’t the only day that is all about jokes and pranks.  Every day is fun and games day for us! 

    Monkeys love to laugh and fool around all of the time.  And we have excellent senses of humor.  In fact, sometimes it is very hard for us to be serious.  And we definitely get excited about things that are interesting and fun.  I guess I can see why dad tells people that emotionally I am at the level of a two year old human child.  But sometimes I think that dad just doesn’t get my jokes.  He has a great sense of humor too, but I don’t know why dad doesn’t think every single thing that I do is hilarious…because I do!

    He didn’t laugh the day that I grabbed the end of the toilet paper roll and ran all over the house unrolling it and wrapping it around the furniture in one big long line.  He didn’t laugh the day I grabbed the truck keys out of his pocket and threw them into the wet, muddy water.  And he didn’t even laugh the night that I turned off the lamp every time he just sat down from turning it on so that he had to get back up out of his chair again if he didn’t want to sit in the dark.

    Even though dad doesn’t think that everything I do is funny, I have certainly made him laugh out loud lots of times over the years.  Like the time we were traveling to one of our college entertainment shows and I put my water down on the driver’s seat while dad and Mark were pumping gas and Mark didn’t see it when he got back in and he sat right on it and got all wet.  Or the time I was eating strawberries at one of our live exotic animal displays and got sticky red spots from my hands all over dad’s head when I hugged him.  Or the time I pretended to be Lawrence of Arabia on the camel ride at one of our exotic petting zoos.  And he laughed really hard the time I tried to take a picture of myself with his cell phone on the set of one of the television commercials I was in.

    So even though today is just a normal day of fun and games for me, I want to wish you all an especially happy April Fools’ Day!  What kinds of jokes and games and pranks did you do today?


  4. TERRIFYING TARANTULAS

    September 12, 2012 by Mindy the Monkey

    When dad and I do our animal shows, animal displays, events and parties, people have lots of different reactions to my exotic animal friends.  Last week I told you that everyone loves Olivia the Opossum because she is so sweet and gentle.  This week I’m going to tell you about one of the scariest members of our traveling family, Cuddles the Tarantula.

    Cuddles is a Chilean Rose-Haired Tarantula.  She is about as big as a human hand – about 5 inches – which makes her very intimidating.  She always causes quite a commotion wherever we go.  Lots of people scream and jump when they see her, and very few people are brave enough to touch her or hold her. The really funny thing is that Cuddles is actually very calm and gentle.  She enjoys walking on people’s hands and arms, and will sometimes just sit quietly on your palm or shoulder.

    The thing about Cuddles that people are most afraid of is being bitten by a tarantula, because they’ve heard that it can kill you. While it’s true that tarantulas are venomous, a bite from one is kind of like a mosquito bite or a bee sting – more annoying than deadly. A black widow or brown recluse spider is much more dangerous than a tarantula. Besides that, tarantulas rarely bite.  Their first defense is to scrape little barbed hairs from their belly that irritate your skin and can cause a rash and itching.  Of course, any animal can bite, so you always have to be respectful of them.  But, at least as far as tarantulas are concerned, you really don’t have to be scared of them.

    When people finally get the courage to touch or hold Cuddles, they are usually surprised at how fun and friendly she is.  Also at how it almost tickles as she walks across their skin.  And how she seems more like a family pet than a scary insect.  So if you ever get the chance to meet Cuddles or another tarantula, be brave and hold her.  You’ll be glad you did and your friends will be amazed!


  5. PLAYING ‘POSSUM

    September 6, 2012 by Mindy the Monkey

    One of the things that people love the most about our animal shows and animal displays is that they get to touch, pet and hold exotic animals.  Everyone has a different favorite for different reasons.  But one thing that everyone who meets her can agree upon is that my friend Olivia, the Virginia Opossum, is the sweetest and gentlest of all my animal friends.

    Olivia was hand-raised from the time she was just a tiny baby by my friend Mark, one of the trainers who works and travels with me and dad.  Baby opossums are born in their mother’s pouch, and spend a couple of months nestled all snug and safe inside. When they come out, they travel around by clinging to their mama’s back.  It’s really cool to see all the babies riding on a mama opossum!  So baby opossums are naturally clingy and cuddly.  Wild opossums eventually grow out of that stage, but because Mark spent hundreds of hours raising and training her, Olivia is still very sweet and cuddly, even as an adult.  She loves to be held just like a baby.

    When wild opossums are threatened they play dead in order to discourage their predators.  Olivia can be very still and quiet and not move for hours at a time. That is amazing to me because I don’t like to sit still for even five minutes! Another thing about her that’s really neat is that she has a prehensile tail, just like I do.  She uses her tail kind of like an extra ‘hand’ to help her climb and balance and hold onto things.  Even though we use our tails in similar ways, we are not related. Opossums are marsupials, so Olivia is more like a cousin to a kangaroo than a monkey.  She even has a pouch, too.

    Olivia loves traveling with me and dad to all our different events and college lectures.  Because she is so calm and relaxed, she enjoys riding in the car all across the country.  And her favorite thing is meeting and being held by lots of new people – curling up in their arms and laying her head on their chests while they stroke her soft fur.  Everyone loves Olivia the Opossum, and I do too!


  6. SKUNKS ARE SWEET, SMART AND SMELLY

    August 30, 2012 by Mindy the Monkey

    One of the best things about being an Animal Ambassador is helping people understand what exotic animals are really like.  A lot of animals are misunderstood because something about them keeps people too far away from them to really get to know them.  Because of their unique and stinky defense mechanism, skunks are definitely one of those animals.

    One of my friends that lives with us is Sylvester the Skunk.  Sylvester is a really nice guy, and I like him a lot, but he always smells like he needs to take a bath.  And he doesn’t even smell as bad as most skunks!  In the wild, skunks spray a really stinky odor to defend themselves against predators – including people.  Sylvester was born on a farm so he doesn’t have the smelly spray, but he still has a gamey odor that is a little unpleasant for most people and monkeys.  It’s too bad that his smell is what keeps people from getting to know how intelligent, interesting and entertaining he is.

    Even though he has lived with us all of his life, Sylvester likes to pretend that he is a wild animal.  Sometimes he acts all tough and he stomps his feet and grunts at us.  We all know not to be afraid because he is our friend, but when wild skunks do that we know it is time to run away or get sprayed!  When dad or anyone else picks Sylvester up, he is very sweet and gentle.  He even likes to be petted.  His job is to show people that you don’t have to be afraid of wild animals, but to respect them and not get too close to them when they are in their outdoor homes.  Sylvester loves meeting new people at animal shows and college lectures, and teaching them about what skunks are really like beyond the smell.

    Have you ever seen a skunk in the wild?  Have you smelled one?


  7. AFTERNOONS AT WORK WITH EXOTIC ANIMALS

    August 20, 2012 by Mindy the Monkey

    For the last few weeks I’ve been sharing with you what my daily life at home and work with dad is like.  This week I’m going to tell you about what we do in the afternoons, after all of my exotic animal friends are fed, watered and their living areas are cleaned and taken care of.

    The first thing that happens after breakfast is grooming time, where everyone gets brushed, clipped, trimmed and bathed.  We all get our nails done on a regular basis so they don’t get too long or sharp.  The birds also get their wings clipped so it is safe for them to be outside.  Dad has a schedule of who gets what kind of grooming on each day.  Bath time is really fun because everyone gets something a little different. I take my bath at home with dad in the sink before we go to work.  The birds like to be misted with a spray bottle.  The chinchillas don’t bathe in water at all – they roll in special dust to keep their fur soft and clean and shiny.  And the alligator gets a sort of reverse bath.  Since he spends most of his time in the water he comes out every day to dry off and walk around.

    Next it is time for training and exercise.  Of course I can’t tell you any of our secrets, but I can say that using a reward system is the best way to get anyone to do what you would like them to.  If we have a film or television shoot coming up, we’ll work on the specific things the script asks my animal friends to do.  After all of our work with the animals is done for the day, dad and I work in the office together for the rest of the afternoon.  As you can see, our daily lives are very busy from sunrise until dinnertime!

    When we have an animal show, party or event scheduled, it takes lots of time to load everyone into their special traveling carriers and make sure they are comfortable, as well as getting any special clothing or props that we need loaded up and ready to go.  On other days we have the vet come in for our regular checkups and shots.  Sometimes dad and I go out to meet with clients or check out the set for a film or commercial shoot.  There is always something interesting and exciting going on!

    I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about my daily life at work and home.  Do you have any animal friends at home?  What kinds of things do you do to take care of them?  Is it anything like what dad and I do every day?


  8. FEEDING EXOTIC ANIMALS

    August 18, 2012 by Mindy the Monkey

    Last week I promised to tell you a little more about what it is like to live with and take care of exotic animals.  In many ways it is not that much different than taking care of domestic pets like cats and dogs.  Feeding, watering, cleaning, grooming and training are all a part of dad’s and my everyday life.  Today I’m going to tell you about what we do every morning at our house.

    The biggest part of our day is spent washing dozens of dishes and preparing food for all of my animal friends that live with us.  I help dad wash and cut up and mix all the different fresh fruits and vegetables, and then I get to inspect and taste everything to make sure it is perfect.  It takes five or six hours every day to feed everyone and clean up their living spaces.  Fortunately, we have wonderful people that work with us and help us, or we would never get finished!

    Most of us eat a combination of fresh food and nutritionally balanced commercial food every day.  Dad is very good about feeding everyone exactly what they need to stay happy and healthy.  We get a good blend of fruits, vegetables, meat, vitamins and minerals, nuts and seeds according to what we like and need.  I like pretty much everything, but some of my friends are very fussy about what they eat.  Some of them, like the snakes and alligator, will only eat live food.  Amy the Armadillo loves crickets, and it is lots of fun watching her run around hunting them!  I also share my monkey chow with many of my friends because they really like it.  The rats have their own rat chow, and the birds have their own pellets, but the opossum, porcupine, skunk and others love the monkey chow.  It is pretty delicious!

    Some of my friends – the geoffroy cat, opossum, porcupine and skunk – also eat high protein cat food.  For fresh food, we eat just like you do, with whatever fruits and vegetables are in season.  Lettuce, green beans, corn, squash, peppers, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, apples, peaches, pears and everything else in the produce section are things that we like.  The birds and I also like nuts a lot, and we each have our favorite types.  My uncle, Mr. Adam Monk, loves chicken and hamburgers so dad cooks special things for him and always brings him leftovers when we go out to eat.

    As you can see, our mornings are very busy with fixing so many different types of breakfast for all of my friends.  After everyone has eaten, there is still a lot more to do for the rest of the day.  Next time I’ll tell you more about what we do in the afternoons, and how we get ready for our different kinds of animal shows, parties and events – so be sure to come back to my blog next week!


  9. STORIES OF AN ANIMAL AMBASSADOR

    June 7, 2012 by Mindy the Monkey

    Hi everyone, I’m Mindy!  I am a Capuchin monkey and I have a very special job as an animal ambassador.  Here on my blog I will be telling you stories about what it is like to live, work and play with all kinds of different animals.

    I’m so lucky that I get to travel all over the United States with my dad, Bill Hoffman of Animal Rentals, entertaining people and teaching them about wild, domestic and exotic animals.  I have a lot of animal friends that travel with me and help me with our animal shows, and we always have a great time meeting new people and seeing how happy and excited they are to meet us.

    Even though I am only six years old, I have already worked at many different events and met hundreds of wonderful people.  I’ve been on television, worked at parties, fairs and festivals, performed on stage and at college shows, gotten all dressed up for corporate events and trade shows, and even danced as an organ grinder monkey.  My dad is really funny and he makes people laugh a lot while he is teaching them about us and what it is like to live and work with exotic animals.  I think my favorite part of being an animal ambassador is seeing the joy on people’s faces when they get to touch a monkey or a chinchilla or a snake for the very first time.  It sure is a great job, and I can’t wait to tell you more about it!

    I’m so glad that you found my blog and I hope you come back often to read about all the great adventures that my dad, my friends and I have working and playing together.   And be sure to like my Facebook page, so that I can get to know you too!


Animal Rentals, Inc., licensed by the USDA, is fully insured and has been in business for over 40 years.