Animal Care

Caring for animals is the core of our mission

Watch the video below to see an example of how much care is given to our animals. The video features our rhinos, Lulu and Sam:


The Toledo Zoo’s Commissary department is responsible for ordering, preparing, and distributing food to all of the animals at the Toledo Zoo.

Emerson the Galapagos tortoise prepares to eat a carrot being handed to him by a keeper

In one year they will deliver:

• 1,000 bushels of fruit and veggies
• 30,000 heads of lettuce
• 1 half ton (1,000 pounds) of grapes
• 2.25 tons of celery
• 5 tons of carrots
• 5 tons of monkey chow
• 8 tons of bird food
• 12 tons of carnivore diet
• Over 35 tons of fish

Veterinary Services

Veterinary staff working with a sedated Zoo animal
Veterinary staff carefully perform a routine medical procedure on a safely sedated Zoo animal

The Toledo Zoo’s Veterinary Department is responsible for treating animals that become ill or injured. Sometimes animals can be treated in their exhibits or holding areas, and sometimes they are brought to the Zoo’s animal hospital where they receive excellent care.

Here are some of the responsibilities of the Veterinary staff:

• Preventive Medicine
• Quarantine and Preshipment Testing
• Medical and Surgical Cases
• Nutrition Oversight & Management
• Necropsies
• Oversee Browse Program & Pest Management
• Nuisance Animal Control (Cats, Raccoons)
• Animal Training for Medical Procedures
• Zoonosis Liaison
• Training of Veterinary and Technician Students
• Input on Exhibit Design
• Correspondence, Communication, & Meetings
• Publications, Presentations, and Tours
• Paperwork (Medical records, transfers, protocols, etc)
• Below are the numbers from just one year of activity in the Veterinary Department:

• 168 Mammal Exams/Procedures
• 493 Avian Exams/Procedures
• 121 Reptile Exams/Procedures
• 72 Amphibian Exams/Procedures
• 12 Piscine Exams/Procedures
• 360 Anesthesias
• 30 Biopsies
• 2200 Prescriptions Written
• 396 Necropsies
• 282 Avian and Reptile CBCs
• 1700 Fecal Tests

How do you do that?

Several Toledo Zoo are involved in training animals. This training is not for entertainment; it is for the animals’ well-being. Animals are taught behavior patterns that might help them at feeding time, but also so that they can be inspected or even treated inside of their exhibit.

Zoo keeper working with a ring-tailed lemur
The lemur pictured above is being trained with positive reinforcement to become comfortable with the keepers. This makes it easier for them to do check-ups or use an ultrasound.

Like any training, the key is to make the animal’s participation positive and rewarding. By going slowly and rewarding each step of the way, we can routinely take excellent care of our animals.

Animal Enrichment

Our animals are also given animal enrichment activities that stimulate their natural behaviors. Learn more about how animal enrichment works

Would you like to contribute to the care of your favorite Zoo animal?

image of a Tasmanian devil
Our Zoo PAL Animal Adoption program is the perfect opportunity for any individual, family, or organization to sponsor a Zoo animal of their choice for one year. Your contribution also entitles you to a Zoo PAL certificate with a photo of your animal and other Zoo PAL gifts. Learn more about Zoo PAL

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