Animal Services Internships

Virginia Zoo is currently accepting applications for interns in the Animal Services department from motivated individuals interested in pursuing a career as a zoo keeper. While working with our Africa, Asia, Bird/Australia, Program Animal, Reptile, ZooFarm/North America, or Animal Wellness teams, interns will learn all aspects of animal care and management, as well as a working knowledge of applied behavioral management.

Responsibilities in all animal areas include, but are not limited to, daily care and feeding of animals in the collection, cleaning and maintenance of holding areas and exhibits, implementing enrichment and training programs, behavioral observations, record keeping and public interactions. Qualified applicants must be able to work in a team environment and work outdoors in a variety of weather conditions. Interns will gain daily work experience as well as specialized training through a series of instructor-taught classes and skills training sessions.

Applicants should have completed a bachelor degree from an accredited college/university and can commit to the four-month program, with a weekly work schedule of 40 hr/week. The internship is unpaid but a small monthly stipend towards living costs is provided.

The Zoo is currently not accepting applications. Please check soon. 

There are 7 different areas that prospective interns may apply for:


This team works with a wide variety of species including white rhino, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, lion, cheetah, giraffe, bongo, watusi cattle, yellow backed duiker, red river hog, ostrich, Southern ground hornbill, Stanley crane, Egyptian geese, fennec fox, meerkat and hyrax.


This team works with a wide variety of species including Malayan tiger, sun bear, moon bear, orangutan, siamang, white-cheeked gibbon, Malaysian tapir, Asian small-clawed otter, red panda, binturong and sarus crane.


This team works with a wide variety of avian and macropod species including Southern cassowaries, rhino hornbills, white-naped cranes, emus, cinereous vultures, bald eagle, several species of medium to small perching and ground birds (from Victoria crowned pigeons to Asian fairy bluebirds), as well as kangaroos and a breeding mob of wallabies.

Program Animal

This teams works with a wide variety of ambassador animals, including several small mammal species (degus, rabbits, prehensile-tailed and African crested porcupines, armadillos, sloths, rats, chinchillas, hedgehogs, tenrecs), macaws, birds of prey (including flight trained birds such as Eurasian eagle owl and Harris’s hawk), chickens, Toco toucan, Burmese python and several smaller reptile and amphibian species.


This team works with a wide variety of reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and aquatic species, including several species of lizards, snakes (venomous and nonvenomous), frogs and other amphibians – including a frog lab with several diverse species, tortoises, turtles, Siamese crocodiles, and seahorses. This team will work primarily out of the new World of Reptiles building, as well as additional herpetological exhibits around the zoo.

ZooFarm/North America

This team works with a wide variety of both domestic and exotic species, including tree shrews, degu, binturong, American bison, African crested porcupines, Dexter and Zebu cattle, sheep, alpaca, KuneKune pigs, prairie dogs, Patagonian cavies, crested screamers, armadillos, guinea fowl, Saki monkeys, titi monkeys, sloths and various goat breeds.

Animal Wellness

This team can potentially work with the entire Zoo animal collection, depending on veterinary and nutritional needs. Interns in this area may work with a wide variety of animals temporarily housed in quarantine/hospital areas. Interns will assist commissary keepers in the zoo nutrition center preparing animal diets, enrichment and any other associated tasks required. Interns will observe the veterinary team during most animal exams and procedures, and potentially assist with data collection, recording vital signs and any other tasks needed at the veterinary team’s discretion.


Applicants should submit a resume, 3 references and cover letter to Please indicate which area you are applying for in the subject line of your email (you may include more than one area if interested in several areas). No phone calls or in-person inquiries please. Due to the volume of applicants, only those selected for an interview can be contacted.