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A Day in the Life of an Animal Trainer

July 6, 2010

One of the things I love about my job is that no two days are the same even though we have daily routines. We arrive at 7:30 a.m., so some of the animals are still asleep.

The first thing I do in the morning is check each animal. Once I know everyone is well my day really begins. I would estimate that at least 65 percent of my day is spent cleaning. I will brag and tell you that as far as handling a squeegee and a hose, I can not be topped. We clean each animal’s habitat daily and feed them periodically throughout the day. Once the animals are clean, the team splits off into their assigned locations for the day. Some may be spending the day in the Lorikeet Glen Aviary while others may be talking to guests at the Conservation Station about our reptiles. My day is usually spent conducting our behind-the-scenes animal tours.

In between tours I am still busy. This is when I am able to fit in training sessions with the animals. I work on either training new behaviors or repeat training on something the animal already knows. Currently, I am focusing on our red fox, Roxy and our kookaburra, Boomer. Roxy is still really young, so we are working on her staying calm during training sessions and will soon progress to working on harness training. Boomer is learning to voluntarily go into his kennel so we may be able to take him to classrooms in the future.

Closing time is just a repeat of the morning. All of the animals get checked, cleaned and fed one more time. These animals are a lot of work, but I love it.

If you love animals, this is the job for you. In a past blog I stressed how important volunteer work is in our field. Not only does it give you experience with the animals, but it gives you a good idea of just how much work it really is. Of course, it all pays off in the end.

Kendell
Animal Trainer at Busch Gardens

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Teresa permalink
    July 6, 2010 11:25 am

    Yes, it is a great deal of work, but it is a labor of love. After I finish riding, for example, I spend between one and two hours on aftercare.

  2. Wendy permalink
    July 6, 2010 4:42 pm

    I am so envious of you! Your job sounds so rewarding. I’m stuck in the wrong career completely because of $$. If you don’t mind me asking how rewarding is it in this area? For a day like you just described I’d be willing to hold up a sign to say only “Will gladly work for food!”. Hehe. I am glad to see you have such a rewarding life!!!

    • July 21, 2010 4:10 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Wendy. It is definitely rewarding! I think when you choose a career with animals, you do it because you absolutely love it . One thing is for sure, I can’t wait to come to work everyday!

  3. Tia Perez permalink
    July 6, 2010 9:54 pm

    How can a person become a volunteer at buschgardens? I absolutely love animals and would love to work with them. What degree is required to work with animals as a career? My husband and I did the ultimate animal tour and loved it! Wished we could do it again!

    • July 21, 2010 4:10 pm

      Hi Tia. I am so glad you made it on one of the tours! We currently don’t have any volunteer opportunities at Busch Gardens, but you should definitely check with your local zoos and animals shelters. Most zoos will have a link on their website specifically for volunteer programs. Required degrees can vary, but this is a great website to search for available zoo jobs and view the requirements for each position. http://aza.org/

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