Zookeeping As A Career

The duties and dangers of a career in zookeeping.

Zoo keeping can be a very rewarding but dangerous career.

If you are looking to be a zookeeper, you should know that it could be very hard and dangerous work. Yes, you work with many wonderful and exotic animals, but the work is hard and the pay is generally low. You do this job because you love it. In this article the general duties of a zookeeper will be discussed as well as many of the dangers of zookeeping. This article is not meant to discourage anyone, but just to inform them of what they are in for if they choose this field.

The first thing we will discuss is the duties of the keeper. There are several basic duties of the zookeeper. They are: cleaning the animals living cages, feeding the animals, watching for signs of illness, research and public relations. The feeding and cleaning of the animals' living cages is probably the most important part of the job. The animals have no one else to depend on for food or cleaning other than the zookeeper. You must be sure that the animals in your charge have plenty of clean water and a proper diet. You are the one responsible for making sure that the animals have whatever they need to survive. This is a big responsibility and takes a mature person to handle them. Cleaning the cages is also a way to check on the health of the animals. You need to look at the stool of the animals, as this can be a clue to certain illnesses. If the consistency of the animal's stool changes then there may be a health problem. There are 11 basic signs of disease that a keeper should always look for.

1. Changes in behavior 2. Changes in defecation 3. Changes in urination 4. Discharges from eyes, nose, vulva and penis. 5. Coughing and sneezing. 6. Limping 7. Change in appetite 8. Lumps and bumps 9. Changes in appearance. 10. Shortness of breath. 11. Regurgitation.



These are the major signs of illness and ones that the keeper is responsible for noticing. The keeper is also responsible for public relations in that they answer many questions posed by the public. The public will ask you questions while you are performing your duties and you need to know everything about all the animals you are dealing with. One last duty of the zookeeper is that of research. You may be asked to help with animal research. Generally, you will be asked to write down your observations of certain behaviors of certain animals. The duties of the zookeeper are numerous but each one is essential to the health and welfare of the animals.

The next thing you need to know about zoo keeping is the dangers you will face. You must remember that the animals you are working with are wild animals, and still have their basic instincts.

The only way to avoid serious injury is through abiding rigidly by the safety rules. You must treat each animal with proper attention to its harmful potential. There are several reasons why animals attack their caretakers.

1. Self defense or fear. 2. Defense of young or subordinates. 3. Defense of territory 4. Dominant animals 5. Food. 6. Animals in heat 7. Sex; some animals will only accept male care givers while others only except females.

There are several tips I would like to share with you while working with animals. Never turn your back on an animal. Do not enter an occupied cage backwards. Know where your animals are at all times. Never run in an occupied exhibit. Know your animal's behavior. Try to use the same routine each time you interact with your animals. Do not rush. Do not treat any animal as a pet. Check all locks before leaving the enclosure area. Do not climb fences. Always carry protection with you when you enter an exhibit containing aggressive animals. The basic thing is that you are in charge of your own safety.

This has just been an overview of a zookeeper's duties and dangers. If you are interested in being a zookeeper you should contact your local zoo and see if there is an internship available. You should know that this is exactly what you want to do before investing too much time and money into something that you will not want to do for a life time. You should know about all the duties and dangers of this profession and this article attempts to tell you about. If you want to be, a zookeeper do not let anything stop you; it is a wonderful and fulfilling career choice. Good luck.

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