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Working at the Smithsonian

Animal Keeper

  • Keepers perform a range of duties in the care and maintenance of exotic, rare and endangered animals including a daily schedule of cleaning enclosures, preparing and placing food, observing and reporting deviations from normal food consumption and noting unusual behavior or symptoms of illness or injury.
  • They train the animals in their care to facilitate testing and medical exams. They also assist veterinary staff with husbandry, medical treatment and data collection.
  • Keepers interact regularly with visitors, answering questions, giving educational presentations, and are a major factor in the visitor experience.
  • These positions require a real commitment to the job and the animals. Keepers must have knowledge of the handling and behavior of exotic animals. Field or zoo experience involving animal research or medicine as a student, volunteer or employee is a plus.

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"Working at the Smithsonian"

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