What I do
I am the Rat Curator at the London Dungeon, which means I look after the family (or the ‘mischief’ if you use the technical term) of 18 rats that live permanently in the attraction. During the very busy Halloween season, it’s my job to make sure that the rats look their best to meet the public.
How I got my job
I have a degree in special effects and went to meet with the team at the London Dungeon who design and create all of the props and sets for the attraction. While I was there, the team told me that they were recruiting for someone to look after the attraction’s rats and, having 23 pet rats at home myself, I got the job! I’ve been working at the London Dungeon with the rats for almost ten years now.
What I love about my job
One of my favourite parts of my job is being able to spend time playing with the rats and getting to know them. There are some incorrect negative stereotypes about rats and people are quite often surprised to find out that they are really affectionate animals and very clever. Each of the rats at the Dungeon has their own personality!
I really enjoy answering guests’ questions about rats – the public is really interested in learning more and I’m happy to help.
What is difficult about my job
As the rats are so agile and intelligent, I have to spend a lot of time devising new and exciting ways to make sure that their environment is stimulating and interesting. At the moment for Halloween, the rats are having lots of fun playing with the specially-carved pumpkins hanging in their home!
What skills I need
Obviously I’m a huge fan of rats, which is critical for my job. It’s also important to be very nurturing and caring, but also to keep a bit of distance – this is important when working with any animals. It’s critical that I keep myself up-to-date with the latest information and news about rats and how to care for them, so I’m constantly educating myself. I get to know the rats and what they do and don’t like – for example, the rats really love vegetables like curly kale and green soya beans.
Where should young people start if they want to do the job too?
If you want to work with animals, it’s very important to be keen and stay up-to-date with the latest news and breakthroughs in how to look after them. Get to know the best websites and magazines to read, and spend time with the animals themselves.