Zoo Veterinarian

Provide medical care to animals in zoos or protected habitats.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$50,000 – $145,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Zoo Veterinarians do?

You’re lucky if you’re a Zoo Veterinarian because you have a job that’s coveted by animal lovers the world over. A Zoo Veterinarian’s work brings him or her face to face with lions, tigers, and elephants (oh my!). It’s not just the sleek, proud lioness or the feisty meerkats that need your care as a Zoo Veterinarian to stay healthy. The melt-your-heart adorable panda cubs and playful otters also need a little TLC.

Of course, some days are harder than others. Sick animals are always heartbreaking to watch, but the good news is you know how to help. Like any Veterinarian, you examine X-rays, take blood samples, and check vital signs such as temperature and heart rate. The key difference is that you focus on exotic animals instead of household pets.

Knowing the diets, lifestyles, and habits of animals from around the world is crucial to keeping them healthy and happy. Climates much different from their homelands can cause problems if you don’t carefully control their environment to keep them cool or hot, depending on their preference.

In between your rounds checking on sick animals, you treat injured ones at the zoo’s laboratory. Some injuries require temporarily putting the animal to sleep so you can perform surgery, while others will heal with proper bandaging and a little medicine.

Nothing beats the feeling of seeing a sick animal heal and go back to play with his other animal buddies. Thanks to you, the animals can live long, peaceful lives, and visitors can experience the magic of seeing these wild creatures up close.

Should I be a Zoo Veterinarian?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.

  • How to become a Zoo Veterinarian

    Most Zoo Veterinarians have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaaaa9&chl=|||||doctorate+%28100%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,100
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