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Essential Books for Zoo Keepers

Updated on January 10, 2014

Reading Essentials

Suggested reading book lists given out by college courses are, very sadly often ignored. Whereas I would be the first person to say you cannot beat practical experience it must combined with learning from the experience of others. We can never know it all...we never will, but we can go some way towards making our lives and the lives of our charges so much better by reading.

When I compiled this list the first book that sprung to my mind was "Man and Animal in the Zoo" by Heini Hediger. This was the classic, the forerunner of Zoo Biology, THE zoo science. Sadly today it is very difficult to find even through Amazon but if you know someone who has a copy, borrow it. It may now be a little out of date but it is still a very valuable read.

The other great classic was "The Management of Wild Mammals in Captivity" by Lee S Crandall. There was a time when there was not a zoo or zoo keeper worth their salt that did not own a copy. It is again now a little outdated but still worth a read.

I don't imagine for one second that everyone is going to agree with the list that I have compiled here or any of the other lists I have put together. But I don't think anyone will disagree either if I say that if you read and digest these books you will become a better and more knowledgeable member of the keeper team.

If you are really sincere about working in a zoo then the investment in and reading the books I have suggested here will be a huge help even before you get the job. In fact they would help you at interview. These are currently the essential books for zoo keepers. They really are a must for your bookshelf.

In no particular order:

(I have given the links for the first two....all however are available on The Zoo Professionals Bookstore a lot more.

Other Publications of Interest

The Keeper's Role in Animal Health by Judie Steenberg

This can be found in the 'Files' section of Zoo Biology

Keeper Manual for Auckland Zoo

The World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy


Submit a Comment

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    8 years ago from South East Asia

    Good for you Andrea. Best of luck and enjoy.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    thankyou, very helpful as i am starting a degree in conservation and zoo biology later this year


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