× The Zoo is open! Entry passes are required for all guests, including infants. All visitors ages 2 and older are required to wear a mask in all indoor spaces at the Zoo, regardless of their vaccination status. Fully vaccinated visitors do not need to wear a mask in outdoor areas.
Share this page:

Small Mammal House Enrichment Internship

This internship has closed. To see open and upcoming opportunities, visit the internships page.

The Smithsonian's National Zoo provides the opportunity for interns to gain experience in enrichment and other husbandry-related tasks at Small Mammal House. Providing enrichment for the myriad of animals at Small Mammal House can be a daunting task. Enrichment must target species-specific behaviors for more than 30 species of mammals, including carnivores, rodents and primates. Interns will assist staff in developing new enrichment items and protocols, while conducting a related project.

Learning Objectives: 

Through this internship, interns will:

  • Learn to design, construct, and implement environmental enrichment.
  • Learn how to research and create new enrichment for the Zoo's Small Mammal House residents. All enrichment must fall within established safety guidelines for each species. Behavioral observations will be essential in order to evaluate the success of all enrichment.
  • Learn basic animal husbandry alongside animal care staff, including daily exhibit cleaning, food preparation and general facility maintenance
  • Learn how to provide formal and informal interpretive educational programs for visitors
  • Learn about and follow all safety protocols and policies of the unit

Though not required, support will be given to any intern who wishes to pursue publication of their project results at the end of their internship.

  • Strong preference will be given to undergraduate and graduate students or recent graduates pursuing a career in a related field
  • Must be able to work both independently and in a team environment with staff and volunteers.
  • Strong communication and public speaking skills
  • Ability to stand, stoop, climb, and lift up to 50 pounds
  • Flexibility and a good sense of humor
  • Availability to work a regular schedule, including weekends and holidays
  • Upon acceptance and one month prior to arriving for the internship, the intern will be required to provide documentation for a current negative TB test and tetanus shot. The intern must also pass a background check prior to their start date.
This is an unpaid internship. Special consideration will be given to applicants who receive college credit for internship. Intern is responsible for obtaining necessary approvals from their university. Intern will be responsible for all transportation costs and personal health insurance.
Washington DC
The intern will make his or her own housing arrangements in the Washington, D.C., area.
The Smithsonian's National Zoo does not provide free parking to interns. Public transportation is suggested.
Term of appointment: 

Small Mammal House is not accepting interns at this time.

Internship Category: 
Animal Programs
How to Apply: 

To apply, go to solaa.si.edu. Select "Don't have an Account? Create An Account." Complete the information to create an account.

Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • Professional resume or CV
  • A one-page statement of your interest in pursuing this position. The statement should mention relevant experience, career goals, your reasons for wanting this internship, and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your statement is very important during application evaluations.
  • Transcripts from your current and/or previous institutions. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.
  • Two letters of reference (one must be from a current or a former supervisor)
  • Schedule of availability.

Once you create your account and provide the information above, you will see a screen where you select the type of appointment you are interested in. You will select:

  • Type of appointment: “Internship”
  • Unit of interest: “National Zoological Park”
  • Program: “National Zoological Park Internship Program”
  • Project: “Rock Creek - Small Mammal House Enrichment”

IMPORTANT: Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit.” Your SOLAA-submitted application with references must be received by the deadlines as noted above.