Zookeepers look after animals in zoos, safari parks, aquariums and sometimes in the wild.

What does a zookeeper do?

Zookeepers work with all types of animals. Your tasks would include:

  • preparing food and feeding animals
  • providing fresh bedding and water
  • ordering feed and bedding
  • cleaning out pens and cages
  • checking for signs of distress, disease or injury in animals
  • helping to care for sick animals under the direction of a vet
  • checking enclosures, cages and barriers for signs of wear or damage
  • answering visitors’ questions and sometimes giving talks or lectures
  • monitoring accommodation conditions, such as temperature and humidity
  • keeping daily healthcare records, normally on a computer

You usually work with one type of animal or in a particular section of the zoo. 

What do I need to do to become a zookeeper?

You may not need any particular qualifications to start work in a zoo. However, some employers may expect you to have GCSEs (A-C) or similar qualifications, including English and a science subject. A keen interest in wildlife conservation is essential and you may need a driving licence for work in wildlife or safari parks.

Most employers expect you to have some experience of working with animals. Zoos and wildlife parks often have volunteer schemes and you can gain experience by getting involved in one of these. The schemes are very popular, so you may have to join a waiting list.

Related skills

  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Patience
  • Physical fitness

Related subjects

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • Physics

Desirable qualifications

  • GCSEs (A-C) or similar qualifications, including English and a science subject

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

Depending on the type of animal, you could spend a lot of time outside in all weathers. 

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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