Animal Care

Caring for animals is the core of our mission

Watch this video to get a behind-the-scenes look at our Chief Vet Dr. Ric Berlinski working with Tink, our green sea turtle.


The Toledo Zoo’s Commissary department is responsible for ordering, preparing, and distributing food to all of the animals at the Toledo Zoo.

In one year they will deliver:

  • 1,000 bushels of fruit and veggies
  • 30,000 heads of lettuce
  • 1 half ton (1,000 pounds) of grapes
  • 2.25 tons of celery
  • 5 tons of carrots
  • 5 tons of monkey chow
  • 8 tons of bird food
  • 12 tons of carnivore diet
  • Over 35 tons of fish

Several Toledo Zoo employees are involved in training animals. This training is not for entertainment; it is for the animals’ well-being. Animals are taught behavior patterns that might help them at feeding time, but also so that they can be inspected or even treated inside of their exhibit.

The lemur pictured above is being trained with positive reinforcement to become comfortable with the keepers. This makes it easier for them to do check-ups or use an ultrasound.

Like any training, the key is to make the animal’s participation positive and rewarding. By going slowly and rewarding each step of the way, we can routinely take excellent care of our animals.


The Toledo Zoo’s Veterinary Department is responsible for treating animals that become ill or injured. Sometimes animals can be treated in their exhibits or holding areas, and sometimes they are brought to the Zoo’s animal hospital where they receive excellent care.

Here are some of the responsibilities of the Veterinary staff:

  • Preventative Medicine
  • Quarantine and Preshipment Testing
  • Medical and Surgical Cases
  • Nutrition Oversight & Management
  • Necropsies
  • Oversee Browse Program & Pest Management
  • Nuisance Animal Control (Cats, Raccoons)
  • Animal Training for Medical Procedures
  • Zoonosis Liaison
  • Training of Veterinary and Technician Students
  • Input on Exhibit Design
  • Correspondence, Communication, & Meetings
  • Publications, Presentations, and Tours
  • Paperwork (Medical records, transfers, protocols, etc.

Below are the numbers from just one year of activity in the Veterinary Department:

  • 168 Mammal Exams/Procedures
  • 493 Avian Exams/Procedures
  • 121 Reptile Exams/Procedures
  • 72 Amphibian Exams/Procedures
  • 12 Piscine Exams/Procedures
  • 360 Anesthesias
  • 30 Biopsies
  • 2200 Prescriptions Written
  • 396 Avian and Reptile CBCs
  • 1700 Fecal Tests

Our animals are also given animal enrichment activities that stimulate their natural behaviors. Learn more about how animal enrichment works!

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