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What is a good personality to be a Zookeeper? What attributes?

I love animals and I'm a relatively quick learner. I work well in groups and by myself. I have a fun, happy personality.

Thank you for your time!
#caring #personality #attributes #zookeeper

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Subject: Career question for you


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Prashanth’s Answer

Hi Elyse,

I hope you’re doing well & wish that you have a great week ahead.

Zookeepers care for animals in settings such as zoos and aquariums. Common work duties include cleaning enclosures, feeding, observing and recording behavior, constructing enrichment items, training animals, administering basic veterinary care, and educating zoo visitors. Some zookeepers work with more than one type of animal, while others specialize in a group like primates or carnivores.

These professionals spend a lot of time with animals and are sometimes at risk for bites, scrapes, and scratches. In addition, they work irregular hours, which includes nights and weekends. The job is rewarding for someone who loves animals and wants to educate the public about them. In order to create a zookeeper career, you will need to learn as much as possible about animal care.

Zookeeper Requirements

Degree Level Associate degree; bachelor's degree preferred
Degree Field Zoology, animal science, any life science
Experience Entry-level job experience may substitute for education, higher-level positions may require 1-5 years zoo experience in addition to education; internships available
Key Skills Strong decision-making, independent thinking, observation, and record keeping skills; ability to manage animals and perform a certain amount physical labor; proficient in Microsoft software

How to Become a Zookeeper

How do you become a zookeeper? Zookeeper jobs require a college education plus experience. Let's look at some of the most important zoo keeper qualifications.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's or Associate's Degree
The typical required zookeeper education is a bachelor's degree in one of the life sciences, which includes biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, wildlife biology, and zoology; there is no specific zookeeper degree offered, and there are no zookeeper colleges. Depending on the program, students can choose elective courses to specialize in an area such as herpetology, aquatic biology, or animal behavior. This specialization may determine what kind of job you're hired to do at a zoo.

A different track is to earn an associate degree in zoo technology at a community college that is connected with a local zoo. Talk to zoos near you and other professionals in order to find out how to get a job at a zoo either before or during your degree. These programs emphasize hands-on education, which is valuable when entering the field of zookeeping. Courses in animal training may be available in an associate's program. Some associate degrees can be transferred to zoo-related bachelor's degree programs.

Research Courses Offered in Different Biology Programs
Every school will have courses in different specialties. A student interested in pursuing primate behavior should pick a school that offers courses in the subject and has faculty that are active in researching the animals.

Volunteer or Intern at a Zoo or Animal Care Facility
Experience in animal handling is important in the field of zookeeping. If not enrolled in a program that offers courses in animal handling or training, you can get this experience by volunteering or interning at a local humane society, wildlife rehabilitation center, or zoo. An internship will not generally substitute for a college degree, but some programs will give college course credits for internships.

Step 2: Get Zookeeping Experience
Knowledge and experience in animal handling is crucial. Aspiring zookeepers usually start out volunteering or participating in an unpaid internship. After a time, the volunteer or intern will gain more experience working with different animals and earn positive references from supervisors. This will help in acquiring a paid internship.

Paid internships are commonly available to those still in college and recent graduates, and they're sometimes a prerequisite for hire at a zoo. Often, zoos looking for a new zookeeper will give first priority to those who have interned there. The zoos that do this know first-hand that their interns work hard, understand how the zoo is run, and are familiar with the zoo animals.

Get Involved Early
The sooner you begin acquiring experience with animals the better. You should start when you're in high school or during college. The advantage of doing this type of work during college is that some zoos have internship programs developed specifically for college students. These programs support students in getting experience, college credit, and sometimes even a good paycheck.

Step 3: Earn a Higher Position
Once you find a job as a zookeeper, you can move up to the positions of lead keeper or curator. This takes time and experience. Senior-level jobs are more supervisory in nature and require more time in an office. Seniority also means a better work schedule, more responsibility, and an increase in pay. Many zookeepers just starting out are required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Become an Expert in a Certain Area
As zookeepers work with and learn more about particular animals, they can take part in research. This involves working with researchers both in the zoo and in the animal's natural habitat. Many senior-level zookeepers conduct conservation research with the animals.


Hope this answers your query
Good Luck 😊

Prashanth TM
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! This really helps my understanding of what it takes to become a zookeeper! Thank you for your help! 😁 Elyse
Thank you comment icon My Pleasure :) Prashanth TM
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Kiirsten’s Answer

Hi Elyse,

Prashanth's answer was very thorough and awesome! I actually know someone who is a zookeeper and she loves it! The hours are long and caring for the animals takes a lot of emotional availability and determination but she said it is a very rewarding experience. With anything you pursue in life, having passion for your career is so important-- so that's great that you've found a passion!

Have fun!
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Corey’s Answer

Great question! It sounds like you have many of the necessary attributes already, having a love for animals, being a quick learner, and working well in groups. That is an underrated aspect of being a zookeeper- getting along well with other humans. Yes many people go into zookeeping because they love working with animals more than humans, but you definitely have to be able to get along with your fellow keepers and be a great team player. It really takes teamwork among humans to successfully care for animals. You definitely also need to be a hard worker and willing to do lots of manual labor in the heat and/or cold, be ok with getting dirty, etc. Patience is another very important virtue. Patience with the animals you work with, patience with your fellow keepers, and patience with the zoo visitors.