An exotic veterinarian provides medical care and treatment to exotic animals such as tigers, lions, and rhinos. Exotic veterinarians in the US earn an annual salary of more than $75,000 compared to Canada where the annual exotic veterinarian salary is C$72,000 ($57,256 USD). Annual earnings in US dollar equivalency in New Zealand are a bit lower at nearly NZ$74,000 ($52,398 USD), followed by Australia at AU$64,000 ($49,881 USD). Those in the UK and South Africa see similar salaries at £31,000 ($37,422 USD) and R441,000 ($35,648 USD), respectively, followed by India at more than Rs549,000 ($8,601 USD). Salaries vary by geographic region, professional experience, and work setting with additional details provided in this guide.
How Much Does an Exotic Veterinarian Make per Year?
Annual incomes and hourly wages for exotic veterinarians are found in the chart below.
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Factors that Influence the Exotic Veterinarian Salary
Geographic region and work experience strongly affect earning potential while work setting has less of an effect. This guide provides information salaries, bonus potential, and career insight for exotic veterinarians in select countries worldwide.
1. Geographic Area
Exotic Veterinarian Salary in US
Exotic veterinarians in the US earn about $75,000 per year with up to an additional $16,000 in potential bonus income. Exotic veterinarians who are early in their careers earn about $52,000 per year compared to their senior level colleagues who see annual pay of roughly $115,000.
Exotic Veterinarian Salary in Canada
As an exotic veterinarian in Canada, annual earnings can reach C$72,000 in base salary plus another C$10,000 in bonus pay. At the entry level, exotic veterinarians earn roughly C$50,000 per year while senior level positions garner an annual salary of about C$103,000.
Exotic Veterinarian Salary in UK
In the UK, exotic veterinarians see annual pay that exceeds £31,000 with up to another £11,000 in potential bonus incentive pay. Entry level exotic veterinarians with up to five years’ experience earn roughly £21,000 annually, increasing steadily with experience to nearly £48,000 upon reaching the senior level.
Exotic Veterinarian Salary in Australia
Exotic veterinarians in Australia receive a total compensation valuing about AU$64,000 in base salary plus up to AU$18,000 in additional bonus pay. Early career exotic veterinarians can see annual pay of nearly AU$48,000 while those at the senior level with the most experience earn nearly AU$96,000.
Exotic Veterinarian Salary in New Zealand
As an exotic veterinarian in New Zealand, annual can reach nearly NZ$74,000 with an additional NZ$7,000 possible in bonus income incentives. Newly trained exotic veterinarians earn more than NZ$53,000 per year, but see rapidly increasing pay with experience to roughly NZ$112,000 for a senior level position.
Exotic Veterinarian Salary in India
Exotic veterinarians in India earn well over Rs549,000 and bonus incentive pay can potentially add another Rs99,000 to overall earnings. Those early in their career earn an average annual salary exceeding Rs237,000 compared to senior level pay that is well over Rs1,149,000 per year.
Exotic Veterinarian Salary in South Africa
In South Africa, exotic veterinarians receive, on average, a base salary of more than R441,000 per year with an additional R49,000 possible in bonus pay. Early career exotic veterinarians with up to five years’ experience receive more than R235,000 per year with significant increases commiserate with experience to roughly R709,000 at the senior level.
There is a widening gap between entry level and senior level pay for exotic veterinarians as they grow in their career and gain more experience with triple digit income growth found worldwide. Despite lower pay, the greatest income growth is found in India where senior level pay is about Rs912,000 more per year, an increase of 385%, compared to entry level salaries. In South Africa, senior level professionals earn about R474,000 more per year over their entry level counterparts, representing a growth rate of 202%. Among the other countries reviewed in this guide, where annual pay is often greater, the senior level pay is between 100% and 129% more than entry level salaries.
Exotic veterinarians typically work in zoos, wildlife rescue facilities, and nature habitats; however, some may work in a typical veterinarian office or in research. Some may be involved in animal rescue while others may offer ongoing care for exotic animals in captivity and some may work on fertility and population sustainment and growth. Typically, all exotic veterinarians are engaged in some form of education and animal preservation as many exotic animals are on the endangered species list or near extinction. Due to the nature of where exotic animals are found, and many of these organizations being nonprofit or government funded, there is less of a variance in salary by work setting. Those who work in the private sector or in for-profit organizations may see higher base salaries or more potential for bonus pay.
A full-time work schedule of 40 hours or more is held by most exotic veterinarians. While many often work during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, there are times when evening, weekend, and even holiday hours are necessary for the ongoing daily care of animals. Emergency situations may also prompt a need for additional on-call hours to provide critical care to animals in vulnerable situations.
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
Benefits packages that include medical care are often available to exotic veterinarians, while a smaller percentage may receive vision and dental coverage. Paid time off for holidays, vacation, and sick time is common, and some employers offer overtime pay for work during holidays or in excess of a 40-hour work week. Bonus pay can also be found worldwide, but this may be most common for those working in the private sector and in for-profit organizations.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a growth rate of 18% between 2016 and 2026 for veterinarians, including those who specialize in the care of exotic animals. This much faster than average rate of growth comes as a result of an increased awareness of animal preservation worldwide. While rapid growth is expected, some employment may remain competitive. A career as an exotic veterinarian requires a doctor of veterinarian medicine degree with additional education and training in exotic animals, taking about eight years to complete.
Exotic veterinarians are highly educated and skilled animal professionals, but the return on educational investment is positive. Many receive bonus income addition to their base salaries, as well as benefits packages that include healthcare coverage and paid time off. With a much faster than average growth rate expected in the coming years, salaries should remain supported at high levels for those choosing to enter this career field.