A Day in the Life of an Animal Care Specialist

At Animal Embassy, we provide a home for over 100 exotic animals, most of whom were former pets who could no longer be cared for by their families. Caring for exotic animals requires a significant commitment of time and resources. Also necessary is an in-depth knowledge of proper animal husbandry (techniques for management and care of exotic animals). 

Our animal care staff are well-versed in the needs of the many species who reside with us. Our Animal Ambassadors have varying needs when it comes to bedding, cages, free flight, environmental enrichment,  humidity, lighting, substrate, feeding, grooming, behavior and more.  

Exotic animals, even those bred in captivity, possess innate social and physical needs, and require mental stimulation that cannot necessarily be provided by the average lay person. Many exotic animals kept in homes are unable to express their instinctual behaviors such as grooming one another, foraging for food, mating and rearing young that would occupy their time and attention in the wild. Lack of these activities can lead to boredom and depression, which can then lead to self-destructive & aggressive behaviors and even illness. Climate differences can also stress animals and diminish the quality of their lives.

When guardians tire of the cost and care, as many do, it is often difficult to find suitable placement for an unwanted animal. This is where Animal Embassy, and many organizations like ours, come in. We adopting and care for former or neglected exotic pets and provide them with proper husbandry and enrichment. Equally as important, we include them in our educational outreach programming. Our Animal Ambassadors help people of all ages to understand proper pet choices as well as learn about habitats, adaptations, and wildlife conservation.

Robin (above), our Assistant Curator, spends much of her day caring for the Animal Ambassadors. She also has administrative responsibilities, including ordering and arranging for supplies that we need to make our animals comfortable and to keep them healthy.

Feeding an animal in captivity is not always simple. Many must be removed from the enclosure and fed in a separate area. Above, Des returns Tango the Argentine Black & White Tegu to his enclosure after a meal.

Caring for animals is not always glamorous! Above, Des gets his hands dirty while cleaning the enclosure of a Green Tree Frog. 

Our Animal Ambassadors have a wide range of dietary requirements.

Each day we prepare a multitude of different fruit, vegetables and proteins. Our staff have all acquired excellent knife skills!

Greens are one of the more frequent food options provided.

Pumpkin, squash and melon are often on the menu.

Tiki the Moluccan Cockatoo is a somewhat adventurous diner and is open to trying many types of fruit and vegetables.

Broccoli and oranges are Tiki's favorite food options.

Quilliam the African Crested Porcupine eats mostly fruit & vegetables, with a small amount of protein.

Cleaning the Animal Ambassadors' enclosures is a lengthy, but important task. Below, Gabby removes our young Carpet  Pythons from their enclosure before cleaning.

Below, Robin washes food dishes. In order to prevent cross-contamination, we have separate sponges for washing the food & water dishes of the varying classifications of animals.

Thorough hand washing takes place many, many times throughout the day. 

Enclosures are removed from the building and given a good scrub.

Proper animal husbandry includes providing enrichment for the animals. As mentioned above, captive exotic animals must have opportunities for foraging, challenging play and mental stimulation. Below, Mike provides play time for Tiki the Moluccan Cockatoo with a empty yogurt container. The container is transferred back & forth, thrown (Tiki throws it to the floor and Mike picks it up). This play also enriches the bond between animal and keeper.

Below, the ferrets have enrichment time outside of their enclosure. A simple game of jumping in and out of a box is stimulating for these little creatures.

Our staff spend as much time as the schedule allows in bonding with our Animal Ambassadors. They are not only well cared for, but loved. Below, Robin spends time with Jude the Bunny.

Jax interacts with (and kisses) one of our large Green Iguanas.

Alec bonds with Pradesh the Peahen.

Chris spends quality time with Tiki the Moluccan Cockatoo.

After preparing an educational video clip with one of our Chinchillas, Kevin spends a little extra time handling and interacting with him.

Some of our Animal Ambassadors require a little extra help. Below, Magic the Carpet Python needs assistance with shedding in his advanced years. He gets a soak, followed by hands-on help.

Our young African Bullfrog required hand-feeding when we first adopted him. Due to a malformation of his mouth, it was challenging for him to feed on his own.

There are other more esoteric requirements which have our staff learning new skills every day.  Below, Rhiannon drills holes into an animal transport box which will allow air inside during transport.

Below, Mike gets into the tortoise enclosure to clean.

We care for and love all of our Animal Ambassadors. They return our attentions ten-fold, and sometimes attempt to help us. Below, Sydney the Eclectus Parrot gets hands-on with the files. He is fascinated by the filing cabinet and the folders within. He doesn't actually get much filing done, but that's okay by us.

At the end of the day, everyone deserves a little break.

Hope you enjoyed a day in the life at Animal Embassy!

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