Unit of competency details

ACMSPE320 - Provide general care of mammals (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes and is equivalent to ACMSPE310 - Provide basic care of mammalsChanged title. Minor changes to performance criteria for clarity. Assessment requirements updated 12/Apr/2021

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 13/Apr/2021


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  13/Apr/2021 
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Unit of competency

Modification History



Release 1

This version released with ACM Animal Care and Management Training Package Version 4.0.


This unit of competency describes the skills and knowledge required to identify placental mammals and their behavioural and physical needs and provide daily care requirements.

This unit applies to individuals working in the animal care industry where it may be necessary to care for placental mammals. This may include animal shelters or rehabilitation organisations, pet shops, zoos and animal technology facilities or similar workplaces. In some cases, animals may have been rescued from the wild and successful rehabilitation is required to restore animal health and wellbeing before releasing back to their natural environment.

The unit applies to individuals who work under broad supervision and provide and communicate solutions to a range of predictable problems.

All work must be carried out to comply with workplace procedures according to Commonwealth and state/territory health and safety and animal welfare regulations, legislation and standards that apply to the workplace.

No licensing, legislative or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Pre-requisite Unit


Unit Sector

Species Specific (SPE)

Elements and Performance Criteria


Performance Criteria

Elements describe the essential outcomes.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.

1. Identify mammals

1.1 Define the habitat, activity cycle and general features of placental mammals commonly housed in the facility

1.2 Identify and describe external features using industry terminology

1.3 Classify placental mammals according to taxonomy

1.4 Define, interpret and document colours, markings and other identifying features

2. Identify and evaluate behavioural and housing needs

2.1 Identify indicators of animal comfort and normal behaviour

2.2 Recognise signs of distressed mammals and report to supervisor

2.3 Identify industry standards and guidelines for housing design, environmental factors and appropriate stocking densities

2.4 Evaluate current animal housing design in relation to the welfare of animals kept and legislation requirements

2.5 Implement behavioural enrichment activities for specific species

3. Catch, handle and restrain mammals

3.1 Identify workplace health and safety hazards associated with handling and restraining mammals

3.2 Implement methods to minimise safety risks and select and use appropriate personal protective equipment

3.3 Approach, catch and restrain mammals safely, using low stress handling techniques and equipment to minimise risks to the animal and others

4. Assist with health care needs

4.1 Identify signs of good health in mammals

4.2 Report signs of disease or other conditions to supervisor

4.3 Identify general health maintenance and preventative treatment procedures and implement in accordance with level of job responsibility

5. Feed mammals

5.1 Identify digestive system features and relate to mammal-specific feeding routines and diets

5.2 Identify preferred feed sources and assess samples for quality and suitability

5.3 Identify potential feeding hazards and implement risk control options

5.4 Prepare food in accordance with dietary needs

5.5 Distribute food

6. Maintain records

6.1 Complete feed and treatment records noting food consumption, health and care activities

6.2 Report abnormalities to supervisor

6.3 Complete documentation relevant to licenses and transport, where required

Foundation Skills

This section describes those language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills that are essential for performance in this unit of competency but are not explicit in the performance criteria.




  • Interpret key information and quantities specified on product labels


  • Measure quantities of food and/or health treatments accurately

Unit Mapping Information

Code and title current version

Code and title previous version


Equivalence status

ACMSPE320 Provide general care of mammals

ACMSPE310 Provide basic care of mammals

Changed title

Minor changes to performance criteria for clarity

Assessment requirements updated



Companion Volumes, including Implementation Guides, are available at VETNet: - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=b75f4b23-54c9-4cc9-a5db-d3502d154103


Assessment requirements

Modification History



Release 1

This version released with ACM Animal Care and Management Training Package Version 4.0.

Performance Evidence

An individual demonstrating competency must satisfy all of the elements and performance criteria in this unit.

There must be evidence that the individual has:

  • identified the specific characteristics and needs of different placental mammals selected from three of the following groups:
  • carnivores
  • ungulates
  • primates
  • marine mammals
  • common, small exotic mammals
  • provided general care for a minimum of two different placental mammals from two different species, including for each:
  • demonstrated appropriate techniques for safe interaction, restraint and/or handling
  • prepared and provided food
  • assisted with health care needs
  • maintained housing and enrichment needs
  • maintained feed and husbandry records.

Knowledge Evidence

An individual must be able to demonstrate the knowledge required to perform the tasks outlined in the elements and performance criteria of this unit. This includes knowledge of:

  • anatomical structures and physiological features used to identify and classify placental mammals
  • general health maintenance and preventative treatment procedures for mammals
  • housing, social and activity needs of mammals, and environmental impacts on health and wellbeing
  • indicators of physical condition and signs of good health in mammals
  • natural mammal behaviour – species-specific
  • characteristics that vary according to:
  • breeding season
  • species, breed, age and sex of the animals
  • time of day or night
  • behaviour characteristics associated with different species:
  • activity levels at certain times of day or night
  • feeding or foraging
  • social interaction
  • feeding behaviours
  • defensive and aggressive behaviour:
  • dominance gestures
  • submissive gestures
  • enrichment needs of mammals, including:
  • food or food-related enrichment
  • physical enrichment items
  • nest building or bedding material
  • social enrichment
  • potential hazards and risks to animals and staff during feeding and cleaning of housing, including zoonoses and need for personal protective equipment
  • safe, low stress mammal handling techniques and procedures, potential hazards and control measures
  • the principles of animal welfare and basic overview of animal welfare assessment frameworks/models, including Five Domains
  • types and impacts of food in mammal diets, including natural dietary requirements for specific species
  • indicators of food quality, including nutritional value, freshness and shelf life, free from spoilage and pests
  • types of information reported and recorded in animal care workplaces
  • key requirements of Commonwealth and state/territory legislation, licensing and codes of practice related to captured wildlife, biosecurity and quarantine, health and safety, and animal welfare.

Assessment Conditions

Assessment of the skills in this unit of competency must take place under the following conditions:

  • physical conditions:
  • an animal care workplace or an environment that accurately represents workplace conditions
  • resources, equipment and materials:
  • a range of live placental mammals as specified in the performance evidence
  • equipment and resources typically available in an animal care environment, including personal protective equipment
  • specifications:
  • organisational policies and procedures, current legislation and relevant codes of practice
  • relationships:
  • supervisor.

Assessors of this unit must satisfy the requirements for assessors in applicable vocational education and training legislation, frameworks and/or standards.


Companion Volumes, including Implementation Guides, are available at VETNet: - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=b75f4b23-54c9-4cc9-a5db-d3502d154103