Zoo Keeper

What is a Zoo Keeper?

A Zoo Keeper is responsible for the care and maintenance of captive animals and their cages. 

Safety of both the animals and visitors to the zoo is the top priority.  The security of cages is therefore very important.


What does a Zoo Keeper do?

  • managing and/or cleaning of cages and food areas
  • making sure diets of each animal are followed
  • making and preparing food
  • maintaining detailed records of animals
  • watching the animals
  • giving medical treatments under veterinary supervision
  • helping with animal capture
  • managing staff
  • communicating well with the public
  • communicating well with the press and media
  • being required to work a shift schedule

Are you . . . ?

  • a person who loves and cares for animals?
  • organised?
  • gentle?
  • able to keep detailed notes?
  • able to talk with the public?
  • willing to deal with the press?
  • confident?
  • willing to work unusual hours if an animal is sick?

How do I become a Zoo Keeper?

Zoo Keeping qualifications and experience varies between zoos/organisations. 

Job seekers are usually expected to hold a current, valid drivers license.

The most important skill to becoming a Zoo Keeper is experience in an animal-related area. 

Experience can be gained in various positions. 

To begin with – a voluntary position (sometimes a paid job) in a smaller, private zoo, an aquarium and private park, veterinary clinic, farms, kennels, cattery, animal shelter, horse stables, pet shops etc can get you some experience.

A few ways in which you may be able to gain the necessary qualifications for a career as a Zoo Keeper include:

Those considering a Veterinary or Zoology Degree will be more qualified for the job.


BVSc (Bachelor of Veterinary Science)


Minimum requirements:  Compulsory Grade 12 requirements

Compulsory school subjects:  English, Physical Science, Mathematics and a 2nd Language

For a degree in Zoology:  Most universities require a National Senior Certificate meeting degree entry.

School subjects:  Mathematics as well as Physical Science and Biology (on the higher grade) are highly recommended for zoologists

The specific requirements can vary from university to university. 

Visit the Career Planet Training Institutions page to locate a University of your choice. 


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Animal Behaviourist or Animal Health Technician

Is becoming a Zoo Keeper the right career choice for me?

See below for more info.