Whether you are looking to go on to Higher Education, zoo keeping, pet retail, rescue and rehabilitation, boarding or private keeping, the Animal Care Unit at Halesowen College will provide you with a learning environment that will allow you to flourish. 

With over 120 species, Halesowen College is home to a wide and diverse range of Animals, from Rabbits and Chickens, to Marmosets and Tree Pythons. 

The college’s sector-leading Animal Care Unit, is run by a team of qualified and experienced animal care technicians, who lead by example with the highest standards of practice. This is demonstrated by the BIAZA accreditation, which sets out strict standards that all its members have to meet.

As well as providing a leading resource for our students, the team is also at the forefront of improving standards across the sector, creating an association dedicated to the advancement of animal welfare in education. 

The animal care unit has 6 distinct sections, each dedicated to providing the best care for its animals and the best learning environment for our students. 


The “Aviary” section is home to species commonly found in a zoo environment such as our Common Marmosets. Here you will learn how to work with these species in a way suited to the zoo environment, including how to care for them, work around them, husbandry training and enrichment.

Ghost and Summer

This section is also home to species more commonly kept as pets, like budgies and our ferrets, Ghost and Summer. Again you will learn skills specific to these species and the best way to house and work with them. 


Our reptile section is sector leading, with professionals across the sector often visiting to learn best practices. 

The section houses species commonly kept as pets, such as Corn Snakes, Dwarf Bearded Dragons and Crested Geckos, in enclosures that promote the best standards for pet care. 

But for those looking for more of a challenge and more experience, the section boasts a wide range of sought after species, including Ackie Monitors, Monkey Tailed Skink and the critically endangered Pancake Tortoise. 

All enclosures on this section are set up with industry leading light, heat and UV provisions, which you will get the opportunity to learn how to use and be able to identify why they are so crucial to the health of the animals. 

Amphibians and Invertebrates 

Home to over 40 species, this section is home to some of the most critically endangered and specialist animals on the animal care unit. On this section you will get to experience how best to care for these species and how to use specialist equipment and set ups designed to encourage breeding. 

Both our Golden Mantella and Annam Leaf Turtles are classed as critically endangered on the IUCN RedList, with both species being managed by EAZA breeding programs. 

The section also houses one of 2 breeding groups of Californian Climbing Salamanders in the UK. 

For those into their “creepy crawlies” the section boasts a large range of invertebrates, including tarantulas, scorpions, and our incredible leaf insects.


Outside you will find our African Pygmy Goats, Loki and Odin, who students get to work with and on occasion get to take for a walk around the college’s nature trail. 

We also house 4 pairs of rabbits and 2 groups of guinea pigs, which students will practice handling and grooming techniques with. 

Small Mammals 

Inside, the small mammal rooms house a variety of our fluffy and not so fluffy residents. 

The team at Halesowen College are dedicated to pushing industry standards and improving welfare, which is why our rats, degu and Chinchilla are now housed in walk-in aviaries, providing them with the most space possible.

For those looking to go into pet retail we have a number of industry style “pet shop” enclosures. These have been modified to provide the best welfare for our animals, whilst also providing you an opportunity to hone your skills in a working environment. In these enclosures you will work with animals commonly kept as pets including hamsters, gerbils and our Skinny Pig, Tommy. 

Mya, Greater Egyptian Jerboa

For those wanting to work with more “exotic” small mammal species, we have lesser hedgehog tenrecs, African Pygmy hedgehogs and Greater Egyptian Jerboa. Again these are all housed in sector leading set ups, promoting the best practices when housing such specialist species.

Nocturnal Room

Ground Cuscus, Ainsley

Nocturnal settings are commonplace when working in a zoo environment, as they provide visitors an opportunity to see animals active in a natural setting. The colleges nocturnal room is home to Ainsley, our Ground Cuscus, who is one of only around 30 in Europe. 

On this section you will have the opportunity to work with Ainsley and learn how best to in this zoo-like setting. You will also be taught how nocturnal enclosures are set up and about the benefits to the animals. 

Our accreditation and awards