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Overview of Zoo Animals


Michael R. Loomis

, DVM, MA, DACZM, North Carolina Zoological Park

Last full review/revision May 2015 | Content last modified May 2015

The physical health as well as the social and behavioral well-being of zoo animals depends on enclosure design, nutrition, husbandry, management, group social structure, behavioral enrichment, and good medical and surgical care. Naturalistic enclosures with soil and vegetation are appealing to the public and more stimulating for the animals, but they present challenges for both sanitation and parasite control programs and may complicate restraint procedures. Mixed species exhibits may increase risk of disease transmission between species and can result in interspecific aggression if appropriate choices are not made.

This chapter provides a general discussion of management practices, preventive medicine, clinical care programs, and some of the more commonly encountered disorders in zoo animals. For more specific information, refer to other chapters within this section (eg, see Amphibians Amphibians read more ; see Marine Mammals Marine Mammals read more ; see Llamas and Alpacas Llamas and Alpacas read more ; see Ratites Ratites read more ; see Nonhuman Primates Nonhuman Primates read more ; see Reptiles Reptiles read more ; and see Vaccination of Exotic Mammals Vaccination of Exotic Mammals read more ). For more information on nutrition, see Nutrition: Exotic and Zoo Animals Nutrition: Exotic and Zoo Animals read more .

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