Traditions and circumstances can sometimes lead to one-of-a-kind occupations in different countries.
We sifted through a Quora thread to find jobs that are unique to individual countries. As varied as ostrich baby sitters in South Africa and bike dredgers in the Netherlands, here are 11 jobs that are shaped by their countries of origin.
ENGLAND: Swan uppers
- Reuters/Luke MacGregor
The English counties of Middlesex, Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, and Oxfordshire have a tradition called swan upping in which people count the number of swans. The people who do this – swan uppers – report on the number of swans accounted for and note whether any of the swans have injuries.
BOLIVIA: Traffic zebras
- Reuters/David Mercado
In La Paz, Bolivia, people are paid by the city to dress in zebra suits and help enforce traffic laws while assisting pedestrians to cross the road.
Thanks to their costumes, the traffic zebras are able to get the attention of cars and buses quickly, and their entertaining nature has helped to get more people to follow traffic directions.
IRAN: License-plate blockers
In Tehran, Iran, thanks to the restrictions placed on how many cars can be on the road during a day, certain drivers will hire people to walk behind their car plates to keep them concealed.
THE NETHERLANDS: Bike dredger
- YouTube/Isabelle Harder
In Amsterdam, traveling by bike is common. But because many bikes end up in the water throughout the year, professional bike dredgers use hydraulic claws to pull around 15,000 bicycles out of the water each year.
Most commonly found in the city of Mumbai, dabbawalla are deliverymen who deliver hot lunches to people across the city. They collect the home-cooked meals from people’s residences all over the city (including the somewhat distant suburbs) and deliver them to the appropriate people in their workplace.
JAPAN: Oshiya (train pushers)
In cities like Tokyo, train operators employ oshiya, or pushers, to literally push people onto crowded trains. Their role is to make sure to get everyone gets inside the train without getting caught in the doors.
THE VATICAN: Swiss guards
- Reuters/Tony Gentile
The Swiss Guard is responsible for the pope’s safety and acts as the security force for the Apostolic Palace and Vatican City. Its members can typically be seen outside the Vatican on a daily basis in their striped blue, red, and gold uniforms.
These guards are required to be Catholic, male, at least 5 feet 9 inches tall, and to have served at least two years in the Swiss military service.
MOROCCO: Water sellers
- Reuters/Rafael Marchante
In popular tourist areas of Morocco, colorfully clad water sellers in elaborate traditional costumes and tasseled hats provide water from camel-leather bags and copper cups. Their costumes are often adorned with brasses and bells.
CHILE: Café con piernas (Coffee with legs)
Café con piernas, which translates to “coffee with legs,” refers to coffee shops in Santiago, Chile, that operate with bar maidens who serve classic coffee in revealing clothing. Waitresses in some locations wear more scandalous outfits than others.
SOUTH AFRICA: Ostrich baby sitters
In South Africa, there’s a job for watching over ostriches. These ostrich baby sitters make sure the ostriches don’t peck at one another too much.
Ravens have been at England’s Tower of London for years, and their presence is believed to protect the Crown and Tower, which is why a Ravenmaster is in charge of caring after the birds and ensuring that they don’t fly away.