Interested in volunteering with us? We are always looking for dedicated people to join our volunteer team! However a lot of people who are interested in volunteering really just want to get to play with exotic animals for free. While volunteers get to do that occasionally, their main job is a lot of hard work, including scrubbing and disinfecting cages, cleaning poop, and other tasks that are not as fun as playing with animals, but necessary for the animal’s care. First we clean and feed and make sure animals are happy, then we get to play.

Step 1: Check Eligibility

To be eligible to volunteer to you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be fluent in English and eligible to volunteer in Canada
  • Be able to commit a regular volunteering schedule for at least 6 months
  • Be able to navigate our facilities safely and follow all rules and instructions
  • Be able to follow us on Facebook or receive our Volunteer and Staff newsletter to keep track of when our volunteer nights are as well as zoo trips, training sessions, and other news and events
  • Attend an Orientation before your first volunteer shift


Step 2: Attend an Orientation

Before anyone is allowed with our animals they must attend an orientation. This will be a 1-2 hour information session, introduction to our animals, and walk-through of our facilities. The orientation will cover:

  • What our organization does, the services we provide, our goals and ambitions
  • Our range of animals
  • Volunteer nights and what to expect from them
  • What to wear
  • General rules
  • Disinfection and infection control protocols


Step 3: Attend your first Volunteer Night

Our usual volunteer nights are Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6-10pm, though some people show up as early as 5, and we are usually done before 9. We start with the nitty gritty stuff like cage cleaning, after which we usually spend some time socializing new animals or training existing ones. Sometimes we have special activities like:

  • Animal Handling
  • Information Seminars
  • Training Sessions
  • Bird Toy Making Day


Step 4: Make the commitment

The key to a successful volunteer program is commitment and consistency. If you want to be a regular volunteer, we ask that you commit to some kind of consistent shift. One evening a week is what most of our volunteers do. What we absolutely do not want is people who come in once in a blue moon and only to see and play with our newest animal. If you just want to play with exotic animals once in a while without any work, volunteering is not for you; please visit our services page and book us.

Volunteers are also more than welcome to attend bookings with us after they have completed a basic animal handling training session with us. Our summer calendar is especially filled with fun outdoor fairs, festivals, trade shows, and events!

Have special skills you would like to use to help us out? All of the following can be done instead of, or in conjunction with regular volunteer night animal care duties:

  • Do you have experience in fundraising, or writing grant proposals, or otherwise finding funding for new organizations?
  • Do you have experience in marketing, or have ideas for how to promote our organization and spread the word about us?
  • Do you have graphic design skills and would like to design new brochures and posters and other promotional materials?
  • Are you a good writer and would like to help contribute to our newsletter, manage our mailing lists, and contribute content to our social media pages on a regular basis?
  • Do you have trade skills (i.e. carpentry, plumbing, welding, etc) and have ideas for building or upgrading existing enclosures?
  • Are you a web designer or savvy in WordPress and can help put up or update new pages and content on our website?

Whatever your skills, education, and talents, our organization is so mufti-faceted that many people have kindly volunteered their skills towards various areas of our company and helped us grow beyond helping clean the occasional enclosure.

Please email us at volunteer@handsonexotics.com for more information or to find out when our next orientation will be.