Sacramento Zoo giraffes had a surprise intruder this weekend

Volunteers at the Sacramento Zoo spotted something Saturday that didn’t belong among the giraffes – a woman.

Zoo spokeswoman Tonja Candelaria said the volunteers asked the unidentified woman to leave the exhibit and she did so. But when the volunteers went to inform staff of the incident, the woman walked out of the zoo on her own and disappeared. A Sacramento Police Department officer called to the scene couldn’t find her, said police spokesman Officer Matt McPhail.

Candelaria said it’s unclear how the woman got into the enclosure, since it has two sets of barriers, but she assumes the woman climbed in.

“We, to my knowledge, have not ever had any (member of the public) in our giraffe exhibit,” Candelaria said. “It could have been a very dangerous situation. We’re relieved she’s safe.”

She said the woman could not have been in with the long-necked herbivores for more than a few moments and zoo officials have no idea what she was trying to do.

McPhail said the police got two calls about the woman, one from the zoo and one from a citizen outside the zoo about a woman behaving erratically. He said the city code does not specifically address entering animal enclosures at the zoo, but at the very least, it could count as trespassing.

Ellen Garrison: 916-321-1920, @EllenGarrison