What do Animal and Zoo caretakers do?

Animal and Zoo caretakers feed and water animals according to schedules and feeding instructions. Clean, organize, and disinfect animal quarters such as pens, stables, cages, and yards, and animal equipment such as saddles and bridles. Answer telephones and schedule appointments. Examine and observe animals in order to detect signs of illness, disease, or injury.

Respond to questions from patrons, and provide information about animals, such as behavior, habitat, breeding habits, or facility activities. Provide treatment to sick or injured animals, or contact veterinarians in order to secure treatment. Collect and record animal information such as weight, size, physical condition, treatments received, medications given, and food intake.

Perform animal grooming duties such as washing, brushing, clipping, and trimming coats, cutting nails, and cleaning ears. Exercise animals in order to maintain their physical and mental health. Order, unload, and store feed and supplies. Mix food, liquid formulas, medications, or food supplements according to instructions, prescriptions, and knowledge of animal species.

Clean and disinfect surgical equipment. Discuss with clients their pets’ grooming needs. Observe and caution children petting and feeding animals in designated areas in order to ensure the safety of humans and animals. Find homes for stray or unwanted animals. Adjust controls to regulate specified temperature and humidity of animal quarters, nurseries, or exhibit areas. Anesthetize and inoculate animals, according to instructions.

Transfer animals between enclosures in order to facilitate breeding, birthing, shipping, or rearrangement of exhibits. Install, maintain, and repair animal care facility equipment such as infrared lights, feeding devices, and cages. Train animals to perform certain tasks. Teach obedience classes. Sell pet food and supplies. Saddle and shoe animals.