Zoo Knoxville shows behind the scenes for National Zoo Keeper Week


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – It’s National Zoo Keeper Week.

Zoo Knoxville is celebrating by honoring its more than 250 employees that work to keep our zoo animals healthy and happy.

A lot of the hard work happens behind the scenes.

The zoo’s herpetology department (the study of reptiles and amphibians) let us tag along on Thursday.

In addition to feeding and cleaning the animals, they regularly do what’s called “soaking” the tortoises.

Once a week every one of the 175 tortoises at the zoo are put into warm water for about 15 minutes to both drink and soak.

Zoo Knoxville’s curator of reptiles Michael Ogle telling us that the “soaking” of the tortoises also allows for them to take a close look at the shelled animals and make sure they feel good, heavy “like a brick.”

So while you enjoy watching unique creatures from behind the glass or fencing, these brave souls – our zookeepers – are caring for them behind the scenes.

Thank you for all you do.

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