From tigers to snakes, the Greensboro Science Heart attendant enriches and trains animals | Native
Once the animals are trained, other tasks – cleaning and maintaining exhibits, giving animals syringes, and calming animals – become much easier.
Rocky, for example, has been trained to know how to handle his cock. A veterinary technician can take blood from the tail.
“That way we can do blood tests without knocking it down,” said Mikulskis, “that’s great because big cats and anesthesia don’t always get along.”
Training techniques usually involve each animal’s favorite form of enrichment – food. With this help, science center operators can even train animals that humans consider untrainable, such as snakes.
With patience and practice, “we can get them to switch from one cage to another,” said Mikulskis, which makes tasks like cleaning cages a lot easier.
After so many years of working with animals, Mikulskis claims to have gained a “healthy respect” for all the animals she cares for, but she is not afraid.
Even if she takes care of animals like Rocky, she is not afraid and is confident that she can work with them safely.
“After we’re around her the whole time, the wow factor is sometimes a little lower,” admits Mikulskis.
But there are days when she finds herself working with animals that other people can never imagine.