Written by The Leap on 23 / 10 / 2013
Gap Year Advice
As a nation of animal lovers, it's surprise that jobs with animals are amongst the most popular careers in the UK. If you have your heart set on working with animals then you're going to love these weird and wonderful options... Be warned, though - for a truly amazing career you’re going to have to think outside the box!
Fancy yourself a bit of a Steve Erwin Mk II? Known in the trade as ‘herpetologists’, this occupation involves capturing crocodiles for research and conservation purposes.
It usually takes a whole team of wranglers to catch a crocodile. Why? Because as well as being unpredictable and dangerous, they also typically weigh a staggering 2,600 pounds. Oh, and they're teeth are pretty sharp too - not something you want to get on the wrong end of!
Wrangling itself involves pinning the crocodile down on dry land, then wrapping tape or rope round its snout to prevent it from biting, and from there it’s just a simple task of relocating the animal to safety. Sound like your (crocodile hand-)bag? First step is to get a degree in a related science or conservation first, though it’s recommended that you get plenty of experience in the field too if you want to stand out from other job applicants. Survival of the fittest, right?
More of a Jim Carey than a Steve Erwin? We’re pleased to report that the job of pet detective really does exist, and does exactly what it says on the tin! These courageous and determined sleuths locate lost and stolen animals and return them to their very grateful (and often wealthy) owners.
Want to learn more? Check out this website, and read some of the inspirational stories of Melody Pugh.
Beware this job is not for the faint hearted... or any ophdiophobics for that matter!
Become a snake milker and you will be part of an elite group of professionals/crazies that extract venom (not actually milk!) from slippery serpents.
You may ask 'why would anyone want to do that?!' Well, here’s your answer: snake venom is highly dangerous, generally lowering blood pressure, stopping the heart, paralyzing muscles and causing internal bleeding. If you were to get bitten, I think it’s safe to say you’re going to want an antidote.
And what are antidotes made of? You guessed it: venom. Because antidotes are made from venom themselves, there's an essential need for brave souls willing to extract it. Cue the snake milkers.
Check out this video to watch milkers in action!
And it gets weirder. This (highly niche) job with animals basically involves sitting in a field full of ostrich, making sure that their territorial nature doesn't cause them to peck each other to death.
If that’s not enough, you also need to ensure these cuties aren’t ostrich-napped... we all know how cute baby birds are. Now this might sound like a very easy job, but with one of the strongest beaks in the bird world you might want to think twice before putting yourself in the pecking/firing line!
Love art and animals? Want to combine your furry and fashion passions? Well then this could be the job with animals for you. Providing make up treatments for animals on screen and stage, animal colourists are hired by film makers to make their cast look picture perfect.
Think this could be the role for you? Then check out the story of Rose Ordile, colourist to the (animal) stars! Read how she gave ‘zebra stripes to a white pony; dyed a horse a deep majestic red; and put a red bull’s eye around the eye of a bull terrier’.
And just for fun, here are some photos of animals with dye jobs.
Just how brave are you? Could you... perform a root canal on a tiger? Extraction on an ocelot? Believe it or not, there are big cats out there with dental problems to be seen to (it's all that red meat if you ask me).
If 7-8 years of veterinary school doesn't make you flinch, and you've got nerves of steel, perhaps you're made for this ultimate job working with animals.
Of course the jobs listed above are not for everyone. But if you still want to get a job with animals in future there are worse ways to start than by gaining work experience in the field first.
There are volunteer opportunities all over the world where you can join expert vets and conservationists working to protect animals in the wild or captivity. These not only give you insight into the practicalities of a possible career working with animals but may also open doors to a dream career through connections and CV boosting experiences.
The Leap offers a wide range of animal projects overseas giving volunteers the opportunity to work with turtles, horses and elephants to name but a few. Here's a couple that might be of interest:
Know of any unusual animal jobs I missed out? Let me know in the comments below. High five to anyone who can beat big cat dentist...
on 23 / 10 / 2013