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13 Unusual Animal Jobs That Pay Well in 2023

Many unusual animal jobs pay well above $60,000 a year, which is about the average annual salary in the United States.

If you’re an animal lover, rather than going for the common well-paying animal jobs such as being a veterinarian, marine biologist, and animal scientist among others, why not consider some of these unusual animal careers that also pay well?

Not many people do these jobs for different reasons including the fact that they are quite rare and unheard of. That said, we will highlight 13 jobs working with animals you might not have heard of.

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Unusual animal jobs that pay well

Consider one or a few of these animal jobs if you’re looking for an out-of-the-ordinary career path in the animal industry.

1. Elephant keeper

Elephants are among the most intelligent animals on earth. They have been known to use tools, communicate with each other, and even mourn their dead.

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Elephant keepers work with elephants in zoos, circuses, and sanctuaries. Their responsibilities include caring for the animals’ health needs, providing food and water as well as interacting with them so that they can learn about their behavior patterns.

Because elephants are social creatures who need companionship, this job requires someone who understands how to interact with animals in order to form a connection and make the elephants feel safe and comfortable.

The average annual salary for salary keepers in the United States is $35,100, which is approximately $17 per hour.

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2. Snake venom milker

A snake venom milker is an expert who collects the venom from snakes which may be used for research or to produce antivenom for snake bites. While it may sound dangerous, the job of a snake venom milker is actually quite rewarding.

Snake venom milking involves collecting the venom from the snake’s fangs with special equipment that helps extract it from their bodies without causing harm or discomfort to them.

Although it is one of the high-paying jobs nobody wants to do, snake venom milkers can earn more than $50,000 a year.

3. Dolphin trainer

As the name suggests, dolphin trainers train dolphins to do specific actions. Dolphins can be trained to do tricks like jumping through hoops and dancing on their tail. They can also be taught to help people with disabilities by helping them swim or even giving them a ride in the water.

Dolphin trainers are trained to understand the behavior of these animals so that they know how best to train them for their jobs. It’s important that these trainers have experience working with dolphins because training an animal requires patience as well as an understanding of its behavioral patterns.

The average annual salary for dolphin trainers in the United States is $42,283. The highest-paid trainers earn more than $99,700, which makes this one of the best-paying unusual animal jobs.

4. Zoo interpreter

Zoo interpreters work in zoos, aquariums, and other wildlife facilities and help visitors understand the animals and their behaviors.

They present educational information to zoo visitors during zoo exhibits, events, programs, and through animal encounters.

Zoo interpreters earn an average annual salary of $52,350.

5. Pet food tester

Another unusual animal job that pays well is that of a pet food tester. A pet food tester works with companies that make pet food to test their products and provide feedback on how they are doing.

Pet food testers do an actual tasting of pet food. They, however, do not swallow the food but instead spit it out.

Pet food testing is one of the little-known careers that pay well, with the average annual salary being $43,250. The highest-paid pet food testers can earn as high as $150,000 a year.

6. Pet massage therapist

A pet massage therapist is a professional that practices animal massage. Animal massage can be designed to fit the needs of each individual animal, which may include stress relief, pain management, or injury prevention.

Massage is used to stimulate muscle activity and blood circulation. A pet massage therapist uses thumbs, fingertips, hands, fingers, forearms, elbows, or a combination of these techniques to apply pressure on different parts of the pet’s body.

Pet massage therapists earn an average annual salary of $60,360 a year with the top earners getting more than $117,000 a year.

7. Reptile breeder

A reptile breeder is someone who breeds and maintains reptiles for money. Reptile breeders can specialize in certain types of animals such as turtles, snakes, lizards, frogs, etc.

They maintain the health of animals by providing them with adequate space to live and food to eat. They also make sure they have an appropriate temperature-regulated habitat and an appropriate amount of light exposure when needed.

The breeder will usually maintain contact with others in the form of National Herpetology societies which is an organization that promotes herpetology (the study of reptiles) through research and education.

The average annual salary for reptile breeders in the US is $77,800 with the highest-paid earning more than $153,000 a year.

8. Monkey wrangler

A monkey wrangler is a person who cares for monkeys. Monkey wranglers often work at zoos or aquariums across the country, but some may also work on farms or even as pet owners themselves!

Monkey wranglers typically start their careers as animal trainers, where they learn how to handle the animals safely. After this training, some go on to become animal handlers (who are responsible for moving around animals without hurting them).

Animal wranglers make an average annual salary of $37,510 and the highest-paid earn more than $92,000 a year.

9. Animal acupuncturist

Acupuncture is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine that uses needles to stimulate the body’s energy meridians. The Chinese believe that the flow of qi (pronounced “chi”) through these channels can relieve pain and restore balance.

Animal acupuncturists use this same principle by inserting very fine needles into specific points of the body. They also treat animals by doing massages, which may involve hot stones or other tools used for massage therapy in humans.

Veterinary acupuncturists in the US earn an average annual salary of $42,750. The highest-paid animal acupuncturists earn more than $102,000 a year, making this one of the best-paying unusual animal jobs.

10. Camel handler

As the name suggests, camel handlers are people who work with camels. They may be employed by zoos, circuses, or other entertainment venues to handle the animals and train them so they can perform tricks.

Camel handlers must be able to handle the camels without causing them any harm or injury. They must also know how to train them properly so that they will obey commands given by their handlers.

Camel handlers earn an average annual salary of $30,700. The highest-paid earn as high as $53,500 a year.

11. Wildlife rehabilitator

Wildlife rehabilitators are responsible for the care of injured animals. They release them back into the wild when they’re ready, or if it’s necessary to keep them safe from further harm.

Rehabilitators learn about how to care for injured wildlife, including which species are most likely to survive after being injured or suffering from illness or disease.

To become a wildlife rehabilitator, you’ll need certification from your state’s department of fish and game (or equivalent) and an accredited program. You may also have an internship with veterinarians or other professionals in this field during your coursework.

Some universities offer internships specifically tailored toward wildlife rehabilitation professionals who want additional training before starting their own practices.

Wildlife rehabilitators earn an average annual salary of $37,900 and the highest-paid earn more than $53,000 a year.

12. Pet adoption counselor

Pet adoption counselors help people find the right pet for their lifestyles, personalities, and family needs. A pet adoption counselor should have extensive knowledge of the various breeds of animals available in their area as well as how to care for them properly. 

They should also be able to deal with difficult situations like when owners want another type of animal after they’ve already adopted an older one. This situation often arises when someone wants more than one pet at once.

Pet adoption counselors should possess strong communication skills so they can explain why certain breeds are better suited for specific environments like apartments or condos vs houses where outdoor access isn’t possible due to snow removal issues etc.

Pet adoption counselors earn an average annual salary of $25,200.

13. Animal cruelty investigator

Animal cruelty investigators investigate animal cruelty cases. They may be employed by the government, or by charities.

Requirements to become an animal cruelty investigator include a good understanding of the law and training in certain areas, such as anatomy and physiology.

Animal cruelty investigators earn an average annual salary of $53,700. It is one of the best-paying unusual animal jobs with the top-paid earning more than $87,000 a year.


There are many unusual jobs out there for animal lovers who want to make a difference in the world. By working with animals and helping them live better lives, you’ll be making a positive impact on the environment as well.

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