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Baby animals get their due all year round, but springtime is when they really shine: As their population is blessedly replenished, it’s the only time of year when they’re truly topical—newsworthy, almost. Back in 1953, the baby animals at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo made the pages of LIFE when they staged an impromptu rebellion against thousands of children in the zoo’s newly opened children’s section. Failing to differentiate between the live animals and their stuffed ones at home, the adoring children poked and prodded little llamas and kangaroos until the animals had had enough.
“Some animals fought back,” the magazine stated. “A monkey grabbed a woman’s lipstick. A baboon hit a boy. A llama who had had his fill of popcorn discovered a way to say so, and a loud-mouthed mother stalked away, yelling, ‘That dirty brazen creature poked me in the rear!'”
The zoo quickly made modifications to the animals’ fencing so as to prevent another love-fueled fiasco.
Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.