Crocodilian Biology and Professional Management

Hosted by St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park 
St. Augustine, FL
May 5-12, 2023

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 

Course Schedule

First Day
 - Student registration
 - Opening evening ceremony

- Classes meet all-day

Last Day
- Classes meet
- Closing Ceremony

After last day
- 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 8:00 PM that evening or the following morning.


Gen Anderson, General Curator - St. Augustine Alligator Farm
Jen Brueggen, Crocodilian Biologist - St. Augustine Alligator Farm
John Brueggen, Director - St. Augustine Alligator Farm
Jim Darlington, Curator of Reptiles - St. Augustine Alligator Farm
John Groves, Emeritus Curator of Herpetology - North Carolina Zoo
Curt Harbsmeier, J.D., Executive Board Member - Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo
Darryl Heard, B.V., Ph.D., Service Chief in Zoological Medicine - Universiy of Florida: College of Veterinary Medicine
Elliott Jacobson, Professor of Zoological Medicine - University of Florida
Jessi Krebs, Curator of Reptiles & Amphibians - Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
Greg Lepera
, Greg Lepera Photography
Trevor Mia
, Curator of Education - St. Augustine Alligator Farm
Matt Shirley
, Research Associate, Rare Species Conservatory Foundation
Bruce Shwedick, Director - Crocodile Conservation Services
Kevin Torregrosa, Collections Manager of Herpetology -  Bronx Zoo
Kent A. Vliet, Ph.D., Coordinator of Laboratories - University of Florida
Bill Zeigler, Senior Vice President, Animal Programs - Chicago Zoological Society / Brookfield Zoo

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.

Travel & Accommodations

Air Travel
Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) is the closest airport.

Lodging information coming soon.

Please wait until you are admitted into the course before making your reservations. You will receive an email containing detailed information regarding your accommodations and transportation once you are admitted.

For information regarding our code of conduct, 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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