5 Things You Only Know if You're a Zoo Keeper

July 18, 2016

5m3wfm4s6x julie larsen maher 1403 tassler heather keeper with ringtailed lemurs bz 06 30 16
Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher©WCS

Have you ever caught a tiger making a strange face? Or wondered why the sea lions raise their flippers for their keepers? As part of National Zoo Keeper Week, we're letting you in a couple of secrets from the experts. Five secrets, in fact. But don't worry - if you want to know more, plan a trip to the Bronx Zoo this week, through July 24, and talk to a keeper or catch a keeper chat. If you take our #keeperweek challenge, you could even win a great prize. We'll see you at the zoo!


1. Stink Face

If you've spent time at Tiger Mountain, you've probably noticed a couple of different behaviors. This one may have struck you in particular. Along with the five senses humans have, cats have something called the vomeronasal organ, which processes info somewhere between smell and taste. It also allows for some funny photo ops.

42nu1bivcl julie larsen maher 5376 amur tiger zeff with tongue out tm bz 10 23 09 778x650
Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher©WCS


2. Age is Just a Number

This is Abdul, an Aldabra Tortoise, posing for shelfie with zoo keeper Avi. Abdul and Rocket are both about 100 years old, and we think they look great. Next time you stop by zoo center, make sure to pay them a visit - and of course thank Avi for his awesome work.

9pj3v2b7uo julie larsen maher 1187 shuter avi keeper with aldabra tortoise wor bz 06 30 16 shuter avi keeper with aldabra tortoise wor bz 06 30 16
Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher©WCS


3. Picky Eaters

Sometimes it's hard to get youngsters to take their medicine. The same can be said about animals. Our keepers have to get creative about hiding medication for the animals, sticking them in grapes, and other food.


4. Sea Lion Salute

In order to ensure the animals are healthy, our keepers train them in husbandry, or healthcare behaviors. That's any behavior that allows a keeper to provide the best possible care to the animal. For sea lions, something like a flipper present allows keepers to inspect the flipper and make sure all is well.

Zxzk0exi0 julie larsen maher 6468 keeper with california sea lion slp bz 07 12 16
Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS


5. Treats

Our keepers take care of the animals basic food and health, but they go above and beyond, providing the animals "enrichments." These can be anything from a puzzle feeder to toys. This way the animals stay stimulated, and it's another way for the keepers to check in on their health.



If you want to know more, plan a trip to the Bronx Zoo this week, through July 24, and talk to a keeper or catch a keeper chat. If you take our #keeperweek challenge, you could even win a great prize. We'll see you at the zoo!

Purchase Tickets

We need your help

Right now, our conservationists are working tirelessly to save wild animals and wild places across four continents and four oceans.

Buy tickets now and get :

  • Instant Access

    Print tickets or use your phone for entry

  • Total Experience

    Visit all exhibits and attractions*

Check out our new mobile app!

Maximize your next trip to the zoo. Check out bronxzoo.com/app on your smartphone for park maps, real-time info, and more with our new app.

Need some direction? Get park maps, real-time info, and more with our new app.

I'm in the park

Visit the in-park app experience

Need some direction? Get park maps, real-time info, and more with our new app.

I'm in the park

Get 10% off tickets*

*Discount code valid only for total experience tickets.