11 jobs that only exist in their own countries

Sometimes, traditions and circumstances can lead to unique occupations in different countries.

We sifted through a Quora thread to find one-of-a-kind jobs that only exist in particular countries. From ostrich babysitters in South Africa to bike dredgers in the Netherlands, here are 11 jobs that only exist in their own countries.

ENGLAND: Swan Uppers

The English counties of Middlesex, Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire have a tradition called Swan Upping where people count the number of swans. The people who do this — Swan Uppers — report on the number of swans accounted for and note if any of them have injuries.

BOLIVIA: Traffic Zebras

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: Licence 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 and keep them concealed.


In Amsterdam, travelling by bike is extremely common. But since 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.

INDIA: Dabbawalla

Most commonly found in the city of Mumbai, India, dabbawalla are deliverymen who hand 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 it to the appropriate person in their workplace.

JAPAN: Oshiya (train pushers)

In cities like Tokyo, train operators employ “oshiyas” 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

The Swiss Guard is responsible for the Pope’s safety and acts as the security force for the Apostolic Palace and Vatican City. They 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-foot-9-inches-tall, and have served at least two years in the Swiss military service.

MOROCCO: Water sellers

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”)

Cafe con piernasWikimedia Commons/Luciana LimaA more conservative café con piernas in Santiago.

Café con piernas, which translates as “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 Babysitters

In South Africa, there’s a job for watching over ostriches. These ostrich babysitters make sure the ostriches don’t peck at one another too much.

ENGLAND: Ravenmasters

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 there is a Ravenmaster in charge of caring after the birds and ensuring that they don’t fly away.

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