Vet Tech Students Get a Behind-the-Scenes Tour at the Minnesota Zoo

Posted by on July 24, 2014

Tropics Trail

Minnesota School of Business-Lakeville students who are part of the Student Chapter of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (SCNAVTA) got a wonderful opportunity to apply what they are learning in a behind-the-scenes tour of the Tropics Trail at the Minnesota Zoo.

The Tropics Trail is an exhibit at the zoo that features the animals and plants of the rainforest. Guests will see a variety of animals including lemurs, toucans, flamingos, monkeys and kangaroos to name a few. SCNAVTA students learned about the various animals on the Tropics Trail including a very interesting story about the Komodo Dragon.

“Komodo Dragons will swallow anything that falls into their enclosure, and at one point a child threw a beanie baby toy into the enclosure—and the dragon swallowed it. After monitoring the dragon for a few days to see if it would pass, the veterinary staff decided it wouldn’t. There was a particular younger veterinarian on staff that was very tall and had very long arms, and he suggested they put the animal under using general anesthesia, and he would try to reach his hand into the dragon’s stomach.

Students receiving tour of trail

The veterinary staff laughed at him, and told him it wouldn’t work, but they were willing to try it before removing the toy surgically. The young veterinarian was right; he was able to reach his hand down through the animal’s mouth to the stomach and carefully pulled the toy out,” said Nicole Neiman veterinary technology program chair.

The students also had a meet-and-greet with a zookeeper. This particular zookeeper was in charge of the Tapir, and explained about their husbandry and feeding schedule. The zookeeper also talked to the students about his education and how he started in the field to get where he is now. The last thing the students got to visit was one of the many kitchens on the zoo grounds, and they witnessed food being prepared for animals, and what goes in to getting different species a varied and balanced diet.


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