Animal handlers care for many different animals according to their job. Their work has therefore been subdivided in 4 special areas: a) small pets (animal home, clinics for small animals etc.) b) animals in animal shops (pet shops, dog breeders etc.) c) wild animals (zoological gardens, animal parks, wild parks, circuses etc.) d) animals for research experiments (scientific institutes).– Animal handlers know what the animals need that have been entrusted to them. They watch over and control them, feed and water them, observe them for signs of distress or illness, care for ill animals according to the vet’s orders and sometimes nurture young animals. They are also responsible for the hygiene and cleanliness of the animals ans their living quarters.
Three to five GCSEs/S (A–C/1–3) grades and experience of voluntary zoo work are helpful, though there are no set minimum educational entry requirements. The earliest possible entry is at 16 years.
For the zookeeper work you need a robust constitution (no allergies), love for animals and good observantion, pleasure in doing practical and manual work, calmness, reliability and a skill for handwork; pleasure and skill in answering questions from the public. Lately, computer skills have become important, too.
Senior keepers (section leaders), head keeper; RSPCA inspector, establishing your own animal home or animal shelter
Trainees learn on-the-job and study part-time for two years a correspondence course to obtain the City and Guilds Certificate in Zoo Animal Management (C+G 7630).