Crocodilian Biology and Professional Management

Hosted by St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park 
St. Augustine, FL
May 17 - 24/25*, 2019

-- Registration for this course is open!--

Crocodilian Biology and Professional Management concentrates on the captive maintenance techniques, husbandry, breeding, and special requirements for the care of crocodiles, caiman, gharials, and alligators in zoos and aquariums. Relevant topics on basic crocodilian biology such as taxonomy, reproductive biology, behavior, anatomy, physiology, and conservation are included as the foundation for captive management practices. Join us at the only facility that houses all existing species of crocodilians and learn from the experts! Please note: animal capture is not a part of this course; capture experience can be obtained from SAAF staff after successful completion of the class.

Course Objectives

After completing this course participants will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of professional maintenance techniques, husbandry, breeding, nesting, egg incubation, training, and more
  • Demonstrate knowledge of crocodilian biology such as taxonomy, reproductive biology, behavior, and anatomy
  • Assess issues in conservation and in the management of crocodilian populations
  • Apply a specialized skill set for crocodilian care developed through lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on wet labs 
  • Facilitate optimal social grouping and introductions through effective enclosure designs
  • Demonstrate ability to develop specialized strategies to benefit comprehensive requirements in caring for crocodiles, caiman, gharials, and alligators in zoos and aquariums 


Kent A. Vliet, Ph.D., Coordinator of Laboratories - University of Florida
John Brueggen, Director - St. Augustine Alligator Farm
John Groves, Emeritus Curator of Herpetology - North Carolina Zoo
Greg Lepera, Greg Lepera Photography
Jim Darlington, Curator of Reptiles - St. Augustine Alligator Farm
Steve Featherstone, Curator of Reptiles, Reptile Adventure Camp
Jessi Krebs, Curator of Reptiles & Amphibians - Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
Elliott Jacobson, Professor of Zoological Medicine - University of Florida
Scott Pfaff, Curator of Herpetology, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
Darryl Heard, B.V., Ph.D., Service Chief in Zoological Medicine - Universiy of Florida: College of Veterinary Medicine
Peter Brazaitis, Wildlife Conservation Society (retired)
Kevin Torregrosa, Collections Manager of Herpetology -  Bronx Zoo
Curt Harbsmeier, J.D.
, Executive Board Member - Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo
Bruce Shwedick, Director - Crocodile Conservation Services
Bill Zeigler, Senior Vice President of Collections and Animal Care - Chicago Zoological Society
Matt Shirley, Research Associate, Rare Species Conservatory Foundation
Marty MacPhee, Curator of Behavioral Husbandry - Disney's Animal Kingdom

Is This Course Right For You?

This course is designed for zookeepers and professional biologists who work with crocodilians or who may work with them in the near future.


Students must be at least 21 years of age. Priority will be given to AZA members, but volunteers and private herpetologists are welcome to attend. Those not affiliated with an AZA accredited institution will be considered on a case-by-case basis; please submit a letter describing your intended benefit from taking this for consideration.

Course Schedule  

May 17th
 - Student registration
 - Opening evening ceremony

- Class meets all day

May 24th
- Class meets
- Closing ceremony

May 25th*
- Capture and Restraint Training Day offered by St. Augustine Alligator Farm (Optional - Add'l fee required)

Attendance is required for course participants for the duration of the course until the evening of the last day. As a result, individuals generally depart the following day. Attendees will receive a detailed schedule for their course after their registration is confirmed.  Please note, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm will be offering a separate capture training on the day following this course for an additional fee. Information on registering for this additional day will be provided upon admission to the course. Those attending the capture training should plan to travel home 8PM that evening or the following morning.

Course Travel & Registration

Travel & Accommodations

Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) is the closest airport.

Course participants stay at a hotel within a 10-minute walking distance to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm.

General Hotel Pricing**:
$77+ One/Two Queen Bed(s)

Tuition & Expenses**

The AZA registration fee below covers tuition and lunches for each day of the course. Other expenses include hotel, travel, and other meals. Registration prices are subject to change. 

Scholarship funding for courses is available through a competitive process.  AZA scholarship applications begin mid-May, are due by mid-July and are awarded by early September. 

The St. Augustine Alligator Farm coordinates an additional scholarship opportunity for this course, the John L. Behler Scholarship. Applications are due by January 1st each year. For more information and to learn how to apply, you may review the application here

Early Bird Rates
$1200 for AZA Individual Members
$1300 for Non-members
Early bird registration deadline: 12 weeks prior to course start date

Regular Rates
$1300 for AZA Individual Members
$1400 for Non-members
Final registration deadline: 4 weeks prior to course start date

**Prices are subject to change 

Accepted forms of payment for registration are by: credit card, check or purchase order. 

For information regarding our registration and refund policies, please visit our Professional Development Course Policies page.

Registration Details 

To register with a credit card
You may now register and pay online with a credit card! Non-members can log in too, after creating a free account. After logging in, choose "Professional Development" from the menu on the left. Next, click on the title of the event for which you would like to register. Finally, choose "Event Registration" from the options at the top and complete the registration process. When registering online, there is no need to submit the registration form. You will receive an acceptance email or wait list email once acceptance decisions are made. 

To register with a check or purchase order
Download the CBPM Course Registration Form and return by mail with check or purchase order. Checks sent for course payment will be cashed immediately upon receipt as per standard business practices. Cashing your check does not indicate that you have been accepted into a course. You will receive an acceptance email or a wait list email once acceptance decisions are made. If you are not admitted into the course from the waitlist, a full refund will be issued within 45 days following the course event. For more information regarding registration and refund policies, please visit our Professional Development Course Policies page.

Questions? For additional details please contact the AZA Professional Development Department.

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