The Herpetology Keeper is responsible for all aspects of the Virginia Living Museum’s herpetology (& terrestrial invertebrate) collection, both ambassador and exhibit animals. Works in cooperation with other animal welfare staff to achieve established facility/operational and AZA standards. This position recognizes the capacity to achieve greater results by integrating skilled volunteers, leveraging their diverse knowledge and skills. This position reports directly to the Herpetology Curator.
- Bachelor’s degree or current progress towards it in biology or related field. Significant professional animal care experience may be considered.
- Minimum of one year experience in general animal husbandry with reptiles, amphibians, and their life support systems.
- Ability to physically maintain enclosures and habitats to safely and effectively house the living herpetology and terrestrial invertebrate collections.
- Ability to repair/improve animal habitats/enclosures while ensuring safety of coworkers and the general public.
- Proficiency in the use and operation of power tools, hand tools, and basic knowledge of life support/repair materials.
- Excellent reliability, communication, and observational skills.
- Ability to speak well with groups of all ages.
- Passion for animals, their welfare and conservation.
- Self-assurance to handle animals with confidence and patience.
- Must be self-reliant and motivated.
- Must be able to remain calm, make sound decisions and provide clear directions in a crisis situation.
Duties and Responsibilities
- Be a positive, enthusiastic representative of the Virginia Living Museum.
- The Herpetology Keeper will ensure high customer satisfaction by engaging with museum visitors and answering their questions.
- Enhance guest experience by providing engaging tours and educational enrichment activities.
- Provide daily husbandry of herpetology and terrestrial invertebrate collections (exhibit and ambassadors).
- Maintain a clean and organized work environment.
- Handling/Restraining reptiles, amphibians, and terrestrial invertebrates which may include: frogs, toads, salamanders, snakes (venomous and nonvenomous), lizards, turtles, alligators, tarantulas, beetles, roaches, millipedes, and crickets.
- Train and work with venomous reptiles, and consistently adhere to all safety guidelines.
- Help to ensure all quarantine and biosecurity procedures are followed.
- Train, supervise, and work closely with animal welfare volunteers.
- Develop and provide regular training and enrichment to living collection.
- Maintain accurate daily cleaning and feeding records, both in writing and digitally.
- Assist with routine data collection including: ultraviolet-B light intensity, habitat temperatures, animal weights, water quality, samples for medical tests, and some seasonal on-site conservation projects.
- Observe, report, and communicate any unusual animal behavior, changes in eating habits, signs of stress or abnormalities of any kind.
- Assist with veterinary care and provide medications as needed.
- Assist with routine food prep, maintenance of live feeder food colonies, and the feeding of the live animal collection.
- Address public inquiries personally or via phone or email. Inquiries may involve providing information concerning animal identification, husbandry, relocation, injuries, etc.
- Ensure security of all animal enclosures and monitor animals for behavioral or health issues on a daily basis.
- Ensure all animal habitats are safe, working properly, and look professional; create work orders for any needed maintenance.
- Follow all VLM safety guidelines and report any safety concerns to a supervisor.
- Perform other duties as assigned.
Essential Job Requirements
- Must be able to express or exchange ideas and perceive detailed information by means of verbal communication.
- Ability to lift and/or exert up to 50 pounds of force.
- Must be comfortable around a variety of live animals and wildlife.
- The candidate must have visual acuity to be able to operate motor vehicles and/or equipment.
- Must be able to sit, stand, walk, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, reach, push, pull, lift, grasp, feel, and utilize repetitive motions.
- Must be able to navigate and move throughout the Museum’s building(s) and outdoor trail as needed, and often for continuous portions of the day..
- The candidate will be subject to outdoor environmental conditions such as wind, humidity, and extreme temperatures.