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You can buy a zoo on Craigslist for less than the price of a shed in London

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Tom Mendelsohn
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Craigslist is usually a good place to pick up a bargain, or perhaps to find part-time work, or in a pinch, acquire an emergency second-hand sofa, provided you don’t mind that its previous owners have definitely had sex on it.

Amongst the things on Craigslist (or Gumtree, ShortList makes no endorsements here) that are generally considered less likely to come up, however, are zoos. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that zoos almost never come up for sale on Craigslist or Gumtree (or eBay). 

Forget everything you thought you knew: there is a zoo currently up for sale on Craigslist – and it, and its 90-odd animals – could be yours for just $350,000 (£274,000).

Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge Zoological Park, situated in north-west Florida, near the town of Crestview, has several tigers, including white and bengal tigers, an African lion, as well patas monkeys, bobcats, baboons, wolves, otters, black bear, fennec foxes, sloths, lemurs and llamas living in a 10-acre space. It even comes with a golf cart and a “stuff-a-plush” machine thrown in. It has a 4.3-star rating on Google, with mostly positive reviews. Not everyone is happy though; the following customer felt the following experience was only worth two stars, around four years ago:

This is a Ghetto Zoo! It is NOT worth going to. And a Lion almost ate my husband. We was just looking at the lion at he ran to my husband like he was going to eat him. It was really scary. We will never go there again. I think someone needs to go out and look at that place cause the animals looked as they was hungry and the fences are not good either.

Meanwhile, in London, the finance capital of the world, there’s another deal in the offing, no less stellar than an entire zoo in sunny Florida. A shed in Bethnal Green – a borough once home to the infamous Kray twins – is on the market for a cool £350,000. It’s made of bricks, and has one room containing both the kitchen equipment and the bed, plus separate cupboards for the toilet and the shower. It comes with precisely zero tigers, and you won’t need a golf cart to get from one end to another! 

The zoo was actually bought in 2013 from previous owners who had struggled to look after all the animals, and is now, according to current president Bill Andersen, much better than it was.

“It was the refuge’s single-largest rescue effort,” he told the Ocala Star Banner. “We’ve spent an awful lot of time getting those critters happy and healthy, updating habitats and providing them with a quality place to live. I think our zoo is in the best shape it’s ever been.”

It’s not for sale to just anyone though. “It’s got to be a buyer who shares our concern for the welfare of these critters,” he said.

The landlord of the shed hasn’t commented publicly, but it is very close to the nearest tube station. The zoo, meanwhile, is nearly 11 hours’ journey from Bethnal Green, which explains the £76,000 price difference.