Personal Characteristics Needed to Be a Zoologist

by Kristen Middleton; Updated September 26, 2017
Zoologists must truly love animals to fully appreciate their jobs.

Zoologists study animals and have many different roles. Some are environmental zoologists and are responsible for protecting wildlife. Some work in the medical field and help doctors decide on the best methods of care when needed. Other zoologists work in zoos and research institutes where they attempt to extend the knowledge of animals and their behavior. Although they work in different surroundings, zoologists all have similar personal characteristics that make them successful at their jobs.

Love of Animals

A zoologist should generally have a fondness for animals, but he must also be able to remain objective. Researching, handling and caring for animals are all part of being a zoologist, and it can be a more rewarding experience if you have a soft place in your heart for the animals with whom you come in contact.

Patience

Working with animals, spending hours doing research both in the field and in laboratories, analyzing data and educating the public about their findings are all tasks that require a large amount of patience, a personal characteristic that can make a zoologist more successful in her job.

Physical Fitness

Zoologists interested in conducting research in the field need to be physically fit and capable of carrying packs full of equipment. Hiking, climbing and even swimming are sometimes part of a zoologist's job.

Willingness to Do Field Work

Field work can be very dangerous, as zoologists study lions, elephants, sharks and even snakes. Field work often is a large part of being a zoologist. Some spend lengthy amounts of time researching animals in the wild and may either travel or even have to live in remote areas. The environment can vary between cold arctic temperatures to the sweltering jungle or even dry desert-like conditions. Zoologists need to be flexible, willing to travel and sometimes even open to living with the animals they are studying.

Organized

A zoologist works with technical information and should be able to keep meticulous records and charts of the data that results from the research they do.

About the Author

Based in Minnesota, Kristen Middleton has been writing since 2009. She runs a child-care business and, in 2010, authored the book "How to Open Up a Daycare." Middleton contributes to various online publications, specializing in child care, gardening and furniture care.

Photo Credits

  • chimpanzee in the forest image by Xavier MARCHANT from Fotolia.com