20 May 2016

So You Want to Work with Animals.....

Post by Helaine Becker

A lot of kids love the idea of a career working with animals. Who can blame them?Animals are cute, cuddly, funny, fascinating. But they're also hard to take care of!

For my recent book, Worms for Breakfast: How to Feed a Zoo,  I got the chance to interview several people who do work with animals, every day. They told me what their favorite parts of their jobs were, what they liked least, and how they got the job in the first place. While most agreed that their jobs had lots of hard bits, they all agreed that working with animals was everything they'd imagined it would be: challenging, exciting and rewarding.

Dr. Deb Schmidt, a Nutritionist at the St. Louis Zoo, had this to say, "The fun part of being an animal nutritionist is helping to solve problems. I like to figure out what nutrients animals need and at what levels. Sometimes, domestic animals (like cows, horses, chickens, dogs and cats) give us clues about what wild animals similar to them may need. But the diets of other animals (such as apes and reptiles) can be harder to figure out."

Dr. Schmidt went on to say that if you want to become a zoo nutritionist, you should be good at math and science. A strong background in biology or biochemistry wouldn't hurt!

You can find out more about careers that involve science and working with animals, check out Worms for Breakfast.  But also check out Sci-Why's very own giant list of super science resources (click the tab, above). You'll find a listing there specifically for Careers in Science.

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