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Roger Williams Park Zoo/ Rhode Island Zoological Society &

Lead Zookeeper - Herpetology

Under the direct supervision of the Animal Care Manager and Deputy Director of Animal Care Programs, the individual in this position is responsible for managing the herpetology section of the zoological exhibits. This includes, but may not be limited to, assigning and supervising the work of the zoo keepers assigned to that section, training and advising zoo keepers on established or changed  procedures, scheduling special projects, monitoring the condition of the animals and exhibits, and related work as required.


Duties & Responsibilities:

1.      Performs all of the duties and responsibilities of the Zoo Keeper including animal care and exhibit maintenance for a diverse collection of reptiles, amphibians and ectotherms as well as other species in the collection.


2.      Responsible for the training and supervision of Zoo Keepers and educational interns within the area to ensure compliance with established standards and protocols with regards to safety, animal health, enrichment and training.


3.      Prepares food, feeds, cleans, and provides water for the animals.


4.      Assumes immediate responsibility for the general welfare of animals in accordance with USDA and AZA guidelines; advises Zoo Keepers of guidelines and violations within their area.


5.      Regularly inspects animals and reports sickness, injuries, or any other changes in their condition to the Veterinary Department and the Animal Management; assists Veterinary Department with animal restraint and procedures as needed. May also administer medications, when necessary.


6.      Participates in ectotherm breeding programs.


7.      Cleans and maintains the animal cages, exhibits, pens, pools and ponds, exhibit buildings, and zoo grounds associated with exhibits including roads and paths within the perimeter fence of the animal areas. Service may be required on exhibits and animals outside of zoo grounds (temporary exhibits, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, etc.).


8.      Supervises and assists Zoo Keepers in medicating, capturing, crating, and transporting of animals.


9.      Checks and secures cages, exhibits, gates, doors, locks, and exhibit buildings for security.


10.  Performs customary maintenance and repairs on cages, fences, equipment, etc.; submits work orders to the appropriate department if unable to accomplish repairs; prepares and submits purchase orders as needed.


11.  Serves on the zoo’s animal escape response team that will oversee crisis policy management and develop an armed response unit within the group.


12.  Assists senior managers in establishing and modifying exhibits and displays.


13.  Researches and compiles data on physical and psychological needs of current and incoming species as directed by the Deputy Director, Animal Programs or his/her designee.


14.  Cooperates in zoo sponsored research and educational projects and programs.


15.  Assists in pest control.


16.  Maintains accurate records, prepares weekly reports, and maintains inventories.


17.  Acts as closing supervisor for the zoo.


18.  Attends conferences and meetings as requested.


19.  Acts as ambassador for the zoo, advising the public on viewing, feeding, and touching animals; conducts special behind-the-scenes tours as requested by Animal Management or Director.


20.  Must be available to work a flexible schedule including weekends, holidays, overtime, and be on call for emergency situations.


21.  Performs other related duties as assigned.

*Please note that this position is employed by the City of Providence.*



Experience Required

1. Must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in animal biology, herpetology, zoology or a closely related field and five (5) years of current or recent (within the last three (3) years) animal keeper related experience, primarily working with a wide variety of exotic and venomous reptiles, amphibians and other ectotherms at a recognized zoological park. In lieu of a bachelor’s degree, an additional two (2) years of experience may be substituted. 2. Knowledge of the latest techniques and practices applied to the husbandry, handling and humane care of venomous snakes, reptiles, amphibians and other ectotherms. 3. Successful completion of Computer Training Level I course within six (6) months and Computer Training Level II course within nine (9) months of appointment. 4. Working knowledge of filtration systems and water quality and chemistry control for pools, ponds, and aquariums. 5. Familiarity with USDA and AZA guidelines. 6. Must test negative for Tuberculosis and have a current Rabies vaccination. 7. Working knowledge of the prevention and precautionary actions that must be taken against various zoonotic diseases within the collection. 8. Knowledge of the policies, practices, and procedures of Roger Williams Park Zoo. 9. Must have a demonstrated ability to lead, supervise, train, and direct others; ability to recognize and anticipate necessary work, organize and schedule routines, and ensure work is completed promptly and accurately. 10. Ability and willingness to handle, control, and work in close contact with potentially dangerous animals and animals that require special care or attention. Demonstrated knowledge of and success in the husbandry, and handling of exotic species including large crocodilians and lizards, venomous snakes and large constrictors, amphibians and invertebrates; ability to understand, recognize, and interpret complex and abnormal animal health and behavior. 11. Demonstrated competence in breeding a variety of exotic ectotherms. 12. Must have a clear understanding of the zoo’s mission, goals, and objectives and be able to make a contribution to their attainment by working closely with zoo management to recognize and solve problems and plan for the future needs of the zoo. 13. Ability to communicate clearly and effectively both orally and in writing; ability to communicate effectively and courteously with the public and knowledgeable to answer their questions. 14. Ability to maintain accurate records, to understand and follow complex directions, and learn new skills. 15. Must possess and maintain a valid State Driver’s License. 16. Ability to lift fifty (50) pounds. 17. Must be able to perform all essential functions of the job.

Further Comments



For salary information, please visit

How to Apply

Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to employment or to: Roger Williams Park Zoo ATTN: Lead Keeper of Herpetology Search 1000 Elmwood Ave. Providence, RI 02907

Roger Williams Park Zoo/ Rhode Island Zoological Society
1000 Elmwood Ave
Providence, RI 02907
Phone: 401-785-3510
Fax: 401-941-3988

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