Hello animal friends. Time to check in at critter corner. Have you ever wondered what it takes to become an animal keeper or wildlife veterinarian? Animal keepers and caretakers spend many hours around their charges. Taking care of captive animals requires lots of hard work, devotion, and no fear of getting dirty,bitten, pecked, or kicked, if you’re not careful. We are often out in extreme weather, cold or hot, because we are devoted to our charges. The animals need care every day of the year, including holidays and weekends. Much of our work is cleaning up after the animals and feeding them. After all the work is done, then is the time to interact and enjoy their company. Our animals are very much used to us being around, and even get friendly enough to let us come close and scratch a head, or rub a paw. That takes many hours of just being near the animals so that it gets comfortable around its care team. Although many of our animals are tolerant and even friendly at times, they can have bad days just like you and me. Deep down inside, these are wild critters and we must be aware of that and respect that nature. Not every animal is super friendly, either. When we are cleaning the areas where the animals live, they are usually confined while we’re doing our work and once we’re done cleaning, we let the critter back into the area where we have been working. After cleaning and feeding, the animal is turned out into its daytime areas to enjoy the day and for visitors to observe while touring the VLM. We keepers work diligently to get an animal accustomed to seeing its keepers, so that it’s much easier to work with the animal and keep its quality of life at a high standard. Much research and effort goes in to keeping them safe and happy so they can be ambassadors to their cousins in the wild. The Museum has opened a new exhibit this past weekend that’s called Wild and Well. It explores what it takes to work with captive animal collections. The exhibit is geared toward our younger animal fans. Here you can read and learn about the varied diets our animals are offered on a day to day basis or how to take care of their needs in captivity. Explore what it takes to become a wildlife veterinarian and take care of animals that are sick, injured, or orphaned. The exhibit is included with museum admission, so if you are coming for a visit, it’s worth checking it out.