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Keeper Aide: Small Mammal House

  • Golden Lion Tamarin on a branch

The Smithsonian's National Zoo’s Small Mammal House is home to diverse and exciting species such as golden lion tamarins, armadillos, porcupines and naked mole-rats. Keeper Aide volunteers help animal care staff prepare food, clean enclosures, care for plants in the exhibits and create enrichment.

New volunteers must be able to commit to at least one shift per week for a minimum of one year. Available shifts are from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday.

Age Range: 




Special qualifications: 

Volunteers should be reliable, responsible and able to perform the physical requirements of the position. Each unit has unique exhibit space designs, physical requirements and responsibilities which will be discussed during the interview. An interest in the exhibit species is a must. Some animal care experience is strongly preferred but not required.


Once accepted, new volunteers must complete online orientation training. Additional training will be provided on the job. There is a probationary period for keeper aides.


Washington DC




Zoo Support

Contact phone: 


Additional information: 

Select applicants will be interviewed by staff, and those who are provisionally accepted will have background checks conducted, including fingerprinting, as a requirement for approval as a keeper aide. Once accepted, volunteers must submit proof of required vaccinations, including tetanus and a negative TB test, to the Zoo's health unit.