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ANEQ 323 - Zoo Nutrition

  • 2 credits

Monkey biscuits, bones, crickets, reptile salad--these are just a few culinary examples of dietary components enjoyed by captive wild animals in our zoos. Proper nutrition for these animals is vital for their physical health and general well-being. This course provides students with an introduction to the amazing animal kingdom, and imparts an awareness of our world's unique animal species and their nutritional needs.

Zoological institutions--zoos--provide the general public with glimpses of exotic animal species known only from books, stories and the Internet. The animal residents of zoos are in a sense a living museum, and it is our responsibility to provide for their basic needs to the best of our ability.

Students taking Zoo Nutrition learn to strategize on how to feed animals by learning animal dietary classifications and gastrointestinal morphology. Based on a few fundamental principles, students develop an awareness of HOW and HOW NOT to feed many new animal species seen in the companion animal trade. Application of these fundamentals saves animal lives and creates a better living environment.

The course is geared toward zoo professionals; employees of rescue, rehabilitation and animal shelter organizations; and undergraduate students majoring in animal sciences, natural resources, biology, zoology and similar fields. Or if you are someone who is just interested in the course topic (and who has met the necessary prerequisite), you are invited to enroll and enjoy the course.


ANEQ 320 or ANEQ 345 or FSHN 350


Nancy Irlbeck
Nancy Irlbeck

9702225820 |

Nancy Irlbeck, Ph.D., was an animal nutritionist at Colorado State University for 27 years and retired in 2016 to join the faculty at Washington State University. At WSU she is happily still teaching nutrition as a Comparative Nutritionist (in her retirement!!!). She has traveled the world and incorporates her experiences into stories. Using stories has become her trademark form of teaching! For over 22 years while at CSU she served as the Consulting Nutritionist for the Denver Zoo. To stay current, she attends comparative nutrition conferences and has connected to exotic animal nutritionists world-wide to expand her working knowledge. She and her husband have a flock of rare wool sheep in Idaho and she is often found in the barn working with the animals. She believes fervently that you NEVER stop learning and that with everyday changes, it is essential to bring those changes into the classroom (face to face or virtual)!