Discover your career path

Laboratory Animal Caretaker

Keep research animals healthy and clean.

What does a Laboratory Animal Caretaker do?

A Laboratory Animal Caretaker’s job is to take care of the animals that Scientists keep in their labs for use in research. You see, Scientists will do a lot in the name of science. They might squander their life savings in order to fund new research, bend the rules of law to accommodate their objectives, or even risk their own health and well-being for the sake of testing a new treatment, therapy, or drug. One thing they won’t do, however, is mistreat animals, which is why they employ Laboratory Animal Caretakers.

When you’re a Laboratory Animal Caretaker, you might work at a university, a hospital, a museum, or a private research facility. No matter where you work, though, it’s always your duty to ensure the welfare of all laboratory animals, which typically include mice, rats, rabbits, fish, ferrets, monkeys, dogs, frogs, pigs, birds, horses, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, sheep, and goats.

Whatever the creature, your duties are the same: First and foremost, you feed and water the animals, groom them, clean and disinfect their cages, and provide their bedding. In addition, you do many of the same tasks as a Laboratory Technician or Veterinary Assistant.

For example, you watch animals for illness, injury, or unusual behavior. You also hold and restrain them during medical procedures, and treat them with emergency first aid when necessary. In addition, you perform diagnostic tests like X-rays, administer their medications and immunizations, and collect samples of their blood, urine, and feces for testing.

Basically, you’re a Zookeeper who works in a laboratory instead of a zoo!