Zoo life appeals to daredevil maxi

AS a young child, Maxi Bader ran naked through the croc infested mud flats of the Northern Territory.

So it's not surprising the Biloela teen, who's just completed a week's work experience at Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast, wants to be a vet and work with exotic animals like tigers and rhinos.

Maxi's mum Karen is understandably nervous about her daughter's interest in working with such dangerous animals.

“Ever since she was that high,” Karen said indicating the height of a young child, “she wanted to be a vet at a zoo with dangerous animals”.

Karen is not the only worried family member.

“Much to her grandfather's disgust she wants to train tigers -'they kill you', he said.”

“They're different - not many people see them,” Maxi said of animals such as tigers.

“It's the thrill and adrenaline.”

The year 11 student spent a week cleaning cages at the zoo, and a day at the wildlife hospital.

Maxi was not too excited by the hospital, as she finds koalas “boring”!

She also helped out at the zoo's famous crocodile shows - but only by manning entrances.

Maxi said she did see Bindi Irwin but she was not there for the mini croc hunter.

“I wasn't really interested in them, I was more interested in the animals,” the 16-year-old said.

Maxi said the highlight was working with the rhinos and lemurs.

“If Maxi had her way she'd pack up the lemurs and the rhino and have our own zoo at home,” Karen said.

Born in Katherine, Maxi spent a lot of time at a cousin's crocodile park.

Having a dad who caught snakes may be another pointer to this girl's goals.

“She was like Mowgli from Jungle Book - mud all over her, running naked through flooded fields and all you'd see is a bare bum,” Karen said.

“She was a little feral,” mum said of her daughter.

“It's better than sitting at home playing Lego,” Maxi said of her unusual and adventurous childhood.

The teen plans to do a vet nurse degree and volunteer at the zoo when she finishes high school.

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