Animal technicians help veterinary, medical, pharmaceutical, agricultural and general scientists and students to care for and check on animals used for research, breeding and scientific purposes.
Animal technicians may perform the following tasks:
- perform daily checks and record the health status and behaviour of animals in their care
- prepare food and water and provide care for laboratory, field or zoo animals
- look after zoo exhibits, holding or breeding areas and equipment
- assist in return-to-the-wild programs
- carry out experiments using animals, recording the results under supervision and according to relevant codes of practice, and the organisation's animal experimentation ethics committee rules
- take samples of animal body fluids, faeces or tissue for analysis or veterinary inspection
- inspect and test animals for worm infestation and disease
- observe animals' reactions to tests
- make routine calculations and prepare graphs
- clean and disinfect cages and facilities, and sterilise equipment
- establish and maintain breeding programs
- help in fertility testing for sheep, cattle or poultry research
- assist in the selection and grading of animals for breeding programs
- help with injections, surgery, dressings and care of animals after operations
- assist with the production of animal experimentation protocols
- humanely put animals down and handle animals that have died
- participate in embryo transfer procedures
- carry out post-mortem examinations on dead animals.
A field assistant cares for large animals, such as sheep and cattle used for research purposes, which are kept in outdoor pens and paddocks.
A zookeeper helps care for animals in zoos and wildlife parks, providing enrichment activities for the animals, assistance to veterinary staff and information to the public on animals and conservation.
Animal technicians are usually required to work in shifts and on weekends. Some work outdoors in all kinds of weather conditions. Much of their time is spent doing routine tasks such as cleaning exhibits and feeding animals.
- enjoy practical and manual activities
- interested in animals, their welfare and conservation
- able to handle animals with confidence and patience
- able to make accurate observations
- free from allergies aggravated by animal hair, feathers, fur and dust
- able to undertake manual and sometimes heavy work.
Education and Training, Employment Opportunities and Additional Information
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