RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) -- Two Brazilian car theft suspects started their life behind bars while still on the run when they chose a cage in a Rio de Janeiro zoo to hide from police, officials said on Monday.

A zoo keeper told Reuters the pair were found hiding in an enclosure where deer and tapir are kept after police chased the fugitives into the zoo on Sunday.

"Apparently police thought that the bandits were going to take the animals hostage, but, thank God, that did not happen. They just wanted to hide," the keeper said.