Senior Herpetologist

The Senior Herpetologist provides assigned specimens with excellent day-to-day care through approved husbandry practices; keeps exhibits, reserve tanks, support equipment, and workspaces well maintained to NA standards. The Senior Herpetologist also participates in the acquisition/disposition, transport and acclimation of specimens; participates in the design, construction and maintenance of exhibits and reserve tanks, including life support material and equipment, as assigned. Fully accountable for animals and systems under care in assigned areas, the Senior Herpetologist is responsible for providing coverage for other areas as needed and is the primary contact for assigned areas. The Senior Herpetologist is involved in the planning and implementation of special projects (i.e., new exhibits, renovations of existing exhibits, exhibit enhancements, collection of animals, propagation of animals) by taking a lead role. This person also serves as liaison for the section in the absence of Curatorial staff and serves as an advisor and mentor to herpetologist staff on all aspects of husbandry procedures and protocols.

Essential Functions:

• Organizes the acclimation, care and feeding of plants and animals in their assigned area. Provides husbandry coverage to other areas as needs arise. o Completes inspection rounds of specimens, exhibits and reserve areas twice daily to check status and identify and report potential problems. Resolves problems independently where possible

o Prepares food and feeds assigned reptile, amphibian, and invertebrate collection in accordance with dietary needs. Cleans and provides daily maintenance to food preparation areas, food preparation equipment and utensils.

o Prepares diets and diet supplements according to established protocols to ensure nutrition and vitamin content are maintained to keep specimens at peak health.

o Follows established feeding schedules and feeds appropriate amounts to maintain specimens at a healthy weight. Develops strategies to get inappetent specimens to feed. Monitors weights of specimens.

o Utilizes various feeding techniques and develops new strategies to overcome the challenges of getting the correct diet to all specimens in exhibits and reserve tanks housing multiple specimens and species.

o Solves problems in assigned areas, including specimen incompatibility and feeding challenges, disease and injury prevention, time and physical constraints for servicing of exhibits and holding areas. This may require special tools and techniques, removal of injured or ill specimens, medical treatment on exhibit and trouble-shooting problems with life support or other support equipment

o Maintains live food holding tanks and cultures, as assigned.

o Observes and recognizes medical conditions that may require attention and reports observations. Discusses best course of therapy with Medical and Curatorial staffs.

o Administers medications and implements routine quarantine procedures as needed.

o Maintains detailed, daily husbandry records and reviews records regularly to identify important trends.

o Orders hardware, husbandry supplies, lighting supplies, housing supplies, and live specimens as needed with Curatorial approval.

o Maintains current knowledge of all specimens under their care and their natural history (biology and environmental needs) and husbandry requirements through hands-on experience, upkeep with current literature, keeper exchange programs, and symposium participation (as approved).

o Researches species to determine established or new husbandry techniques.

o Conducts literature review or hands on research.

o Assists with annual physicals of specimens as needed.

o Ability to problem-solve and troubleshoot problems.

o Able to work well with supervisors and staff.

• Organizes and participates in the acquisition and transport of plants and animals. o Arranges the acquisition of plants and animals from professional collectors, other institutions and wholesalers, as assigned.

o Participates in field collection trips using appropriate equipment. Lead and manage national and international collection trips, as assigned, including securing location, travel, and other logistics and developing budget and plan proposals.

o Executing collection trip while being fully accountable for finances and safety of staff participating. Ensures adequate animal holding facilities in accordance with biological requirements of the specimens are available prior to collection of specimens.Maintains acquisition and disposition database.

• Prepares and maintains an area manual with up-to-date information on all assigned exhibits, reserve tanks, and their associated life-support systems and specimens. Maintains weekly coverage notes for specific husbandry instructions.

• Participates, taking a lead role, in the design and construction of new and renovated exhibits, maintenance, and appearance of existing exhibits and support areas, including life support materials and equipment. o Maintains cleanliness and artistic quality of the displays through cleaning glass and decor, scrubbing algae and removing debris to meet established NAIB standards.

o Performs hydrocleaning, water changes, backwashing and other procedures necessary to care for pumps, filters, and maintain water quality standards, and determines appropriate schedules for maintenance and trouble-shooting

o Cleans back-up areas including scrubbing, mopping, vacuuming water and pest control.

o Maintains current knowledge of all pumps, valves, filters, lighting timers, climate control equipment, water supply, etc. in assigned areas.

o Participates in system design and fabrication in keeping with animal behavior and biological needs.

• May have contact with Board members and Donors. Frequently contacts personnel at other aquariums, specimen suppliers, vendors, regulatory agencies, US Customs officials when dealing with animal shipments, State and Federal offices for permits, media personnel and local fishers and collectors.

• Serves as a representative of the Aquarium to the public and the media. o Participates in and presents at workshops, seminars, lectures, member programs and tours.

o Produces specific applied research projects.

o Offers advice to other aquariums and zoos regarding animal care and propagation techniques, and advises home hobbyists on husbandry problems.

o Trains and mentors new personnel including staff, volunteers, interns and visiting professionals in all aspects of husbandry.

• Participates in various committees including Workplace Solutions Committee, Diversity Committee, Exhibits Upgrades Committees, as assigned.

• Responds to life-support and animal related emergencies, at times after hours.

• Provides back-up support to other departments as needed.

• Plans and implements special projects including new exhibit construction and new animals on display. o Serves as husbandry expert during major renovations of exhibits. Plans and accomplishes minor exhibit renovations and repairs.

o Recommends species acquisitions that support exhibit themes and enhance visitor experience and learning. Helps to develop captive care criteria for new species.

• Runs all aspects of a captive breeding program, threatened species project, research or conservation project with coordination with the curator, as assigned.

• Adheres to all organizational and departmental policies and procedures

• Other duties as assigned or required

Qualifications/Position Requirements:

• Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Herpetology, or related major, or equivalent experience, is required.

• A minimum of three years experience in a zoo, aquarium, or other zoological facility with emphasis on closed systems required.

• Experience with venomous species and crocodilians preferred.

• Experience with birds preferred.

• Previous supervisory experience preferred.

• Must be highly knowledgeable of herpetocultural practices and be able to apply them to an Aquarium setting.

• Proficiency regarding treatment of common diseases, aquatic husbandry techniques, basic life-support technology, and basic aquarium/terrarium maintenance, including water quality, cleaning, and basic exhibitry.

• Adept at observing any signs of illness or injury, monitor eating patterns or any changes in behavior. Must have keen observation skills, should be highly detail oriented and adept at problem solving.

• Ability to follow established safety procedures, as well as identify potential hazards in their assigned area.

• Must have a capacity to decide when to act independently and when to seek consultation of curatorial staff. Should have an affinity for animals, educational orientation and conservation ethic.

• Must be able to communicate effectively with visitors, staff, and industry colleagues at all levels verbally and in writing. Should possess ability to mentor and train new interns, volunteers, and herpetologists.

• Competence in basic research components including publications and research is desired.

• Familiarity with computers and NAIB programs is necessary; should be able to log and record data, and interpret records for significant trends.

• Assists with research and text for exhibit labels and graphic panels.

The National Aquarium is committed to diversity and invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture, experience and ideas to apply.


Recently named one of Baltimore’s Best Places to Work, the National Aquarium opened in 1981 as a nonprofit aquatic education and conservation organization, the jewel of the city’s Inner Harbor redevelopment. SmartCEO Magazine honored the National Aquarium with the Healthiest Workplace award and the Corporate Culture award in 2016. With a mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures, the Aquarium is consistently ranked one of the nation’s two top aquariums and has hosted over 51 million guests since opening.

Today, the National Aquarium builds on a 36-year history of local, regional and global conservation initiatives that provide real solutions for protecting marine life, ecosystems and aquatic communities. Its Animal Rescue team has rescued, rehabilitated and released hundreds of marine mammals and endangered sea turtles throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Its Animal Welfare and Science teams participate in important research efforts to confront pressing ocean conservation issues and advocate for smarter policies at local, state and federal levels. Through education, research, conservation action and advocacy, the National Aquarium is pursuing a vision to change the way humanity cares for our ocean planet.

HOW TO APPLY Interested and engaged applicants should apply through our website Requests for reasonable accommodation can be made by e-mailing

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