Have you ever considered a job or career working with exotic animals? Does the idea seem impossible, or one of those jobs that “other people do?” Sort of like acting in movies, or working as a race car driver or politician?
Well a career working with reptiles, zoo animals, amphibians, wildlife, and other exotic animals is more possible than you might think. Almost every major city has a zoo full of these animals, and exotic pets are becoming more and more popular (as are the businesses that service them). Even online business is booming as exotic pet owners buy food and other supplies over the Internet.
Working with exotic animals is one of those “outside the box” careers that will amaze your friends and family. Most workers don’t handle anything more exotic than a copy machine at work, and everyone you meet will want to learn more about what you do and how you do it. Imagine the possibilities at your next cocktail party, or when meeting new people at any type of social gathering.
What to expect from an exotic animal job or career
Okay, so a job working with exotic animals has the obvious perks, but what is this type of occupation really like? You may be thinking it’s all glitz and glamour, like those trained tiger acts at the casinos in Las Vegas, but the reality is usually quite different.
First off, make sure you have a real passion and enthusiasm for reptiles, amphibians, and other exotic pets and animals before you consider a job in this industry. You don’t want to spend a lot of time and money on training and education, only to discover this isn’t your cup of tea. And be prepared to work hard, and get your hands dirty when handling these amazing creatures.
Zoo keepers, for example, spend much of their time cleaning out animal enclosures, feeding the animals in their care, maintaining the grounds and the facilities, and other routine tasks. In fact, in some cases handling and interacting with the exotic animals at the zoo isn’t encouraged, as many of these animals are endangered or are in captive breeding programs, and too much human contact could be harmful.
And be aware that this type of work can be hazardous at times. Like other wildlife, exotic animals are often unpredictable, especially when hungry, frightened or agitated. An animal that seemed like your friend one moment, could be preparing to attack you a few moments later. Workers in this field have to always have their guard up, and be alert to what’s happening around them.
But there are also many moments of wonder and excitement when working with exotic and unusual animals. These wild creatures are a fascinating study. They’re never boring to be around, they’re often highly intelligent and engaging, and most people who spend their workdays in their company feel blessed to be able to earn a living handling and caring for these animals.
The types of careers available in this industry
If you’ve decided to give this challenging and exciting career path a go, you’ll need to decide what type of animals you’re interested in working with, and what to specialize in. The following is a short list of some of the possibilities:
These are just a few of the career options for working with exotic and unusual animals. Many of these fields require at least a bachelor’s degree in herpetology, zoology, biology, veterinary medicine, or another animal-related field. And as mentioned earlier, a love and passion for these animals is a necessary requirement for long-term job satisfaction and fulfillment.
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