Desert Dome Reptile Internship

An offering by Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

SCHEDULE: Each Internship session, Spring, Summer, and Fall, is 13 weeks long. All interns must be available
during this time.
• Weekly Schedule: Must be available to work 28-32 hours per week; unpaid. Interns must be available to attend Tuesday OR Thursday afternoon professional development sessions starting the second week
of their internship. Must be willing to work weekends and holidays. Schedules will be determined before internships begin by working with the Volunteer Manager and animal area supervisors.

DESCRIPTION: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is seeking a Desert Dome Reptile Intern. Under the direction of the Supervisor of Dome-Reptiles & Amphibian Conservation, along with the Curator of Reptile & Amphibians, Reptile interns will assist in the day-to-day husbandry requirements for the animals in the Desert Dome Reptile/Amphibian Collection and will also be expected to help care for animals in the Zoo’s Reptile/Amphibian Collection that are maintained in other departments. The Desert Dome-Reptile/Amphibian Collection is comprised of almost 1000 individual reptile and amphibian specimens. These specimens represent nearly 150 different species and include 20 venomous reptile species and 6 crocodilian species. The collection is featured in the Desert Dome, the world’s largest glazed geodesic dome and in the Kingdoms of the Night which features the world’s largest indoor swamp. Covering ¼ acre and at 160,000 gallons, The Swamp features over 65 individual turtles, a leucistic American Alligator, a small group of adult American Alligators that are involved in an intense training program and includes 5 species of freshwater fishes. The
Desert Dome stands at 13 stories, covers one full acre and features 3 major deserts; Namib of southern Africa, the Red Center of Australia and Sonora of the southwestern United States into Mexico. It is the only exhibit at Henry Doorly to feature venomous reptiles including the Black Mamba, Death Adders, and 7 species of Rattlesnakes some of which are showcased in the world’s largest indoor rattlesnake exhibit. Desert Dome Reptile Keepers are also responsible for several satellite exhibits which include Gray’s Monitors, Whitethroated Monitors, and African Spurred Tortoises.

• Develop, work on, and present an internship project aligned with the research needs of the Reptile Department.
• Attend weekly professional development sessions.
• Complete learning goals on internship checklist.
• Participate in and complete a mid-point and final evaluation.
• Assist in and complete tasks as assigned, including but not limited to:
o Attends to all aspects of daily animal husbandry, exhibit maintenance, and visitor service for a large and diverse collection of reptiles and amphibians in a major AZA accredited institution.
o Writes clear, concise reports and maintains accurate records on animals and aquatic systems.
Practices good communications skills and has the capacity to work well with others while maintaining the ability to work effectively as an individual.
o Reports potential issues or concerns promptly to the supervisor or curator including, but not limited to, animal health concerns, exhibit failings, safety issues, facility and maintenance problems, and guest questions, complaints or concerns. Keepers are expected to assist
veterinarians and technicians during medical procedures and with administering medical treatments. Keepers may also be expected to assist other zoo personnel in making minor system/building repairs.
o Participate in and help develop educational presentations for Zoo visitors.
o Participates in and supports collaborative efforts pertaining to the Reptile/Amphibian Collection, such as reproduction of selected species, research, enrichment, training and conservation programs.
o May be required to provide crowd control during peak times and emergency situations.
o Other duties may be assigned.
• Must be at least 18 years old.
• Must follow safety guidelines and always demonstrate safe working practices.
• Must have effective time management skills for working in a fast-paced and flexible work environment.
• Must possess strong communication skills; Communicate frequently and in a professional manner with supervisor and team members.
• Must work well with others and have the ability to work independently.
• Must be team-oriented and willing to work with other interns, volunteers, and staff members to further not only the goals of the Department but also of the Zoo’s Mission Statement.
• Must attend shifts on time and as scheduled.
• Must have the ability to follow detailed instructions.
• Must complete a TB Test before beginning internship.

EXPERIENCE: Previous experience with reptiles and amphibians in an AZA institution is preferred, but not required. General knowledge of aquatic life support systems is preferred. Consideration will be given to an individual’s past direct experience with exotic animals in other zoological, aqua cultural, ecological and biological areas such as in schools, aquariums, nature centers, agricultural operations, animal merchandizing and conservation centers.

EDUCATION: Interns must be currently enrolled in, or have recently graduated from, a college or university. A minimum of one year of coursework in a major field of study to be applied during the internship (e.g. biology, zoology, animal behavior, etc.) is preferred. Knowledge of reptile and amphibian natural history, biology, captive husbandry and conservation issues preferred. Must be motivated to continue expanding knowledge base as it applies to reptiles and amphibians.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS: This position may involve considerable physical exertion, such as climbing of ladders, lifting of heavy objects (50+ pounds), and/or assuming awkward positions. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consider these physical requirements before applying for an internship in this area. Interns that are not able to meet the physical requirements for the position may be reassigned to another department.

WORK ENVIRONMENT: There are routine exposures to heat, cold and moisture. Must be willing to work in confined/uncomfortable spaces and with potentially dangerous animals. The position may involve exposure to chemical substances and physical trauma of a minor nature such as cuts, bruises and minor burns.

Learning Outcomes

None listed
Unpaid, Year-long
Omaha, NE
Start Date
12th September, 2022
End Date
12th December, 2022
Start Time
12:00 AM
End Time
12:00 AM
Science - Animal
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