At Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo, we are honored to have a hardworking staff of zoo keepers who work tirelessly to provide the best lives for all of animals.
Ryan is one of our senior keepers. Though he is our primary large cat and carnivore keeper, he also works closely with all of the other animals that have a home at AWSFZ. We spent a few minutes chatting with Ryan about his career. Catch the interview below:
Why did you want to become a zookeeper? I have always loved animals and knew from a young age that whatever I did in life, that it would involve animals. Zoo keeping is the perfect opportunity to build meaningful relationships with unique species.
What is your favorite animal to work with? The servals. I really enjoy medium sized cats and Layla [the serval] is one of my favorites. Also, our baby red ruffed lemur, Snot, is one of my favorites. He was one of the first animals I was able to raise myself, so we developed a close bond.
What’s an average day like? Well, each day is different, but in the mornings I focus on feeding all the animals and cleaning their exhibits, as well as giving them enrichment. Each day the animals will receive a different type of enrichment. In the evenings, I have more one-on-one time with the animals to focus on training.
What is your favorite part of your job? I love getting to work with unique and endangered species. Each of our carnivores has a different personality, too, and it is really fun to work with them.
What advice can you give to other wishing to enter the zoo keeping profession? Always be willing to learn and be flexible. Zoo keeping is an ever-changing field that requires you to constantly build on your previous knowledge and experiences.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I want to be a Senior Keeper for Carnivores. I really want to continue my focus on big cats.
What is your biggest challenge being a zoo keeper at AWSFZ? Mastering the necessary knowledge to work with the wide variety of species here at the Zoo.
What has your favorite memory been while working in this industry? My favorite memory is working with a pair of clouded leopards at a facility in Florida. It was the first time in my career that I established a meaningful bond with an animal that I could physically see— and that benefited both the animals and myself.