When we were all younger, we all had dreams of what we wanted to do. There were probably tons of little children who dreamed of growing up and working with animals. They are cute and cuddly, but they are also a lot of work.
This leads a lot of children to the zoo. It is a popular spot to visit, and it has a big influence on the children who attend. However, how much does anyone really know about what it takes to work in a zoo?
There are dozens of different jobs in the zoo, and they all have different rules and requirements, so we are narrowing it down to the job that most people really want, the one where you get to work directly with the animals.
We are going to go through 20 rules that most zoo employees have to follow while they are on the job.
20 Escape Procedure Drills
According to The University of Hawaii, it is expected that all staff is to be at the very least, trained semi-annually in escape procedures.
This is mandatory for all employees of the zoo. This also includes being trained in the use of any emergency equipment. If an evacuation needs to take place, visitors will look to staff to help them get out safely.
19 Daily Health Observations
Next to feeding, one of the most important rules around working for the zoo is to make sure all the animals are healthy. This is according to Zoospenseful.
Since animals can not speak a language that humans understand, it is the zoo employees’ job to make sure that they are healthy and happy. Any changes need to be reported right away.
18 Appropriate Attire
Most jobs require a special uniform and working at the zoo is no different. There is a specific attire that all zookeepers and workers need to wear, according to Zoospensefull.
Appropriate attire helps form and uphold the professional image that the zoo represents. It also makes staff members easily visible to guests if they need help.
17 Show Is Better Than Tell
There is also an unwritten rule when it comes to working for the zoo, according to Zoospensefull. The zoo is full of visitors who usually require help.
That could either be in the cafeteria or the bathroom. The unwritten rule is that zoo employees should show guests instead of telling them. That means instead of giving directions, personally walk the guest where they need to go.
16 Interact With People, Not Just Animals
A big misconception when it comes to working for a zoo is that you are left alone to deal with just the animals, and your interaction with people is limited.
According to Zoospenseful, this is not true. Communicating with people is a big part of working for a zoo, and all employees are expected to interact with politeness and professionalism.
15 Being Multi-Lingual Is A Plus But Not A “Rule”
This one may not be a rule, but it is so important that we have included it on this list. The ability to speak multiple languages is an incredible asset when working for the zoo, according to Zoospenseful.
Even if the zoo is located in a primarily English-speaking country, there are bound to be many tourists there who are trying to enjoy their day as well.
14 Should Know All The ‘Taxonomic’ Groups
Now is some time for some big words. If you are serious about working in the zoo, there will be some studying involved.
According to Zoospensefull, it is important to know all the groups of animals that are kept in your zoo and where they live. It makes it easier to help visitors find the exhibit they are looking for.
13 Reproductive Biology Is A Skill Needed
While we are on the topic of what knowledge you should have when you want to work in the zoo, we are going to talk about reproductive biology.
Depending on what your job is in the zoo, you should know how the animal species is doing in terms of extinction and reproduction, according to Zoospenseful.
12 Feeding Regimen Is Strict And Must Be Followed
One of the most important rules an employee working at the zoo needs to follow is all based off nutrition. Feeding the animals is one of the most important jobs at the zoo.
According to Zoospenseful, it is important to be able to follow the specific feeding regimen that is set up for the specific animal.
11 Animal Training Is A Necessity
This rule probably only applies to actual zookeepers themselves, and it is probably something they will learn when they are studying in school.
According to Zoospenseful, animal training is one of the most important aspects of being a zookeeper. It helps you build rapport and trust with the animal you are working with.
10 Habitat Design Is Not Like Interior Design
Another rule that the zookeepers must follow is around the topic of habitat design, according to Zoospensefull.
It is their job and responsibility to make sure that all of the habitats are suitable and sustainable for the animals that they are housing. It is considered a fundamental building block in making sure the animal’s welfare is the top priority.
9 Basic Conservation Roles
The zoo does a lot more than just put animals on display for the public to look at. They are intensely involved in conservation.
According to Zoospensefull, it is expected that all of the employees know and understand the mission of the zoo they work for. They should be able to recite it from memory.
8 Over Time Is Expected
There are probably not a lot of jobs that have a strict 9-5 schedule and working for a zoo is no exception.
According to The University of Hawaii, there is an expectation that some overtime would need to be completed by workers throughout their careers. There are always unexpected jobs that could pop up that a worker must complete before leaving for the day.
7 Travel Time To Work Stations
If you have ever been to a zoo then you will notice that zoos are pretty big places. It can take more than one day to get through one entire zoo.
This means that when a zoo employee has to travel to different workstations, they will have an allotted amount of time to travel. According to The University of Hawaii, staff members have 5 minutes to travel between workstations.
6 When Work Is Done, Get Out!
You would think that if you worked at a zoo, there would be certain perks. For example, when a work shift ends, you would be free to hang around at the zoo. This is not true.
According to The University of Hawaii, when a staff member's work shift is done, they are not allowed to hang around on the zoo grounds. They can visit as a guest, with a paid admission.
5 Annual Safety Training
It goes without saying that safety at a zoo is probably one of their top priorities. The animals may look cute and majestic, but they are still wild and can be incredibly dangerous.
According to The University of Hawaii, employees are expected to attend safety training courses and classes and are expected to comply with everything that they learn.
4 Sing The Clean Up Song
A clean zoo is not only important for the animals, but it also attracts visitors, which brings in money that helps care for the animals.
According to The University of Hawaii, all staff is expected to maintain workspaces and all other areas of the zoo. They must also not create any dirty or unsanitary environments.
3 Pest Control???
While the zoo may be full of animals, they only want certain kinds of living creatures in the zoo. That means that there is a certain level of pest control that takes place.
According to The University of Hawaii, pests can have a negative impact on the animals in the zoo and it is vital for all staff to report anything pest problems they witness so they can be taken care of properly.
2 Trained In Pepper Spray?
It doesn’t happen often, but if it does happen everyone wants to be prepared. If there was ever an instance in which an animal escaped from their habitat, then the staff need to be trained on the use of pepper spray.
According to The University of Hawaii, pepper spray is carried by all trained employees and is a non-fatal way of subduing an animal that has gotten away.
1 How To Deal With Unruly Visitors
When working with people, there will always be difficult customers. The difference is that in the zoo, these customers could create some very dangerous situations.
According to The University of Hawaii, there are certain ways to deal with visitors who are unruly, or who are trying to commit dangerous acts. Every employee must carry a two-way radio and call for help if they witness anything that can be harmful to guests or animals.