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Animal Unit

Housing over 250 animals and more than 70 species on an idyllic 200-hectare farm and woodland estate, there's no better environment for the study of small and larger animals than the animal unit at our Brackenhurst Campus. It's designed to facilitate a range of courses, from Veterinary Nursing to Zoo Biology, and to give you the knowledge and practical skills you'll need to secure a job in the industry.

Animal Unit facility tour

Our animals

We constantly strive to ensure that the Animal Unit houses a wide variety of animals, providing the opportunity for students to gain experience observing and working with a range of species to support with those key transferable skills that employers are looking for.

You’ll get the opportunity to study with companion animals such as reptiles, birds, fish, as well as larger animals including donkeys, horses and goats.

Animal handling in reptile room

The animal rooms

Within the Animal Unit we have a range of modern enclosures designed to exceed RSPCA floorspace recommendations, providing exceptional welfare standards to help you put your theory into practical sessions. This includes our rodent room, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates room, as well as a rabbit and guinea pig room. The Unit is also home to our cattery, aviary and isolation room.

Student feeding goats

Our outdoor spaces

The Animal Unit is also home to our ferret enclosure, an outdoor tortoise enclosure, poultry paddock, goat paddock, donkey paddock and an outdoor research area used for animal training. Here students can explore enclosure use and design, and can gain practical experience with larger species to work on skills such as animal management and husbandry.

Student using thermal camera on horse


We work with our animals on a variety of research projects to support you when collecting data. This can range from measuring temperature checks, to assessing variance in animal weight.

You’ll find a variety of equipment available at the Animal Unit to support your research project including:

  • Thermal camera
  • Digital camcorders with specialist software
  • Time lapse camera
  • Mammal traps
  • Digital video recording facilities in some animal rooms

Explore our Animal Behaviour, Performance and Welfare research areas.


Why not broaden your horizons and give something back by taking part in our animal unit's successful volunteer programme? Also known as VolPro.

The 'VolPro' is an extra-curricular opportunity open to all students at Nottingham Trent University. You'll get the chance to work closely with our skilled team of technicians on a variety of tasks such as maintenance, health checks, medical administration and behaviour management such as enrichment and training.

Previous sessions have included taking the goats on harnesses around the estate, foraging walks, teaching novel behaviours, and even making ice lollies for the animals and taking the rats swimming.

These sessions are recognised and verified by the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) to support your CV and boost your employability by teaching you key communication and team working skills. To get involved speak to your course leader.

Animal Unit

  • Subject area: Animal, equine and wildlife
  • Category: Learning tools and spaces; Research; Science including labs; Teaching facilities; Animal/Veterinary
  • Location: Brackenhurst Campus

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418