Nature can be hilarious and cruel. Not unreasonably, though, zoos and biologists would prefer we focus on the “hilarious” end of things, and they know their audience well enough that the Association of Zoos and Aquariums has a new mobile game that’s all about butts.
It’s called TailsUp, naturally, and for Android and iOS it’s fairly simple (and free). You put your phone on your forehead, screen out, and the screen shows an animal’s behind. A friend tries to get you to correctly guess the animal in question before the timer runs out, and we all win because somebody’s got a butt on their forehead. It’s like Charades, but will animal butts. Puerile comedy aside, having tried the app, it’s actually a lot of fun with a few friends, a clever riff on Blind Man’s Bluff that has the side effect of teaching you about animals. It’s also aimed at all ages, so if you’ve got an animal-crazy kid to handle, or just one with the same juvenile sense of humor as yours truly, this will probably keep them amused for hours.
There is, as you might have guessed, a larger point. The AZA is hoping to familiarize more people with the various threatened animals of the world and make us more interested in protecting them from poaching, habitat loss, and other problems that can wipe out a species. There are in-app purchases for more animal butts, with proceeds going to saving animals that are facing extinction.