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Meet the Insect Keepers at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo

08 Oct 2014 17:01:56

Meet the Insect Keepers at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo

Not all animals at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo are cute and cuddly, but they still need to be cared for! Meet Olga, one of the invertebrate (insect) keepers here at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo.

Olga what have you studied to get to this point in your career?

I completed my undergraduate studies at Sydney University with a strong focus on Life Sciences. I majored in Biochemistry and finished my education with a year of research (Honours) in entomology. The focus of my thesis was chiral mantid genitalia inCiulfina.That's right, I spent a year studying insect reproductive parts!

What is your typical day at work like?

As you might expect, there is a lot of cleaning of cages and changing of leaves, and unfortunately my department has all the animals with the shortest lifespans so there are many surprise mini-funerals. On the upside there are also lots of babies to play with and I can redesign a whole exhibit in an afternoon!

What is your favourite thing about working at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo?

Finally having the space and facilities to house and display the invertebrate collection I've always wanted!

What is something that would surprise people about your job?

That zoo keepers don't spend their days patting fluffy animals! Most of the day is spent cleaning poop and prepping food. Luckily my animals eat less and poo less. This leaves me time to experiment with new enclosure designs and new additions to the collection.

Have you ever been bitten by one of your bugs?

Bitten, stung, pinched, sprayed… you name it and it's happened to me. But it's always through my own excitable lack of caution.

Do you have your own animals at home?

Some would say too many! I currently own 13 snakes, four monitors, 15 geckos and five rats (two of which have recently had litters!). It's definitely a full house!

If you could share a fascinating fact what would it be?

A scorpion's stinger is reinforced with metal from its diet!