Oxford Languages defines Herpetology as ‘the branch of zoology concerned with reptiles and amphibians’ – and that is just what we are here to talk about today!
Reptiles can have a bit of a negative reputation, often being the source of fear or discomfort for many members of the public. But like any other animal, our scaly friends are simply just trying to survive and thrive in this world, and actually have a fascinating biology which is unlike that of any other creature on this vast Earth.
If you’re reading this blog today, chances are that you’re not the kind of person who would run screaming from a snake or lizard, but rather look upon these creatures with fascination, curiosity and respect.
If you are such a person, then have we got a treat for you.
A bit about reptiles in Australia
Reptiles come in all shapes and sizes, with the main groups consisting of snakes and lizards, crocodiles and turtles. Each reptile species and type have unique needs and living conditions which they require in order to survive:
Snakes – a common phobia for many, snakes can be extremely dangerous due to their poisonous bites and constrictive tendencies. But unless provoked or threatened, snakes simply go about their business and are actually pretty amazing when you think about it. Each snake is completely unique in colour and size, living and moving in fascinating and totally individual ways. All they ask is that you respect their space!
Lizards – with everything from the Painted Dragon all the way to the uniquely patterned Thick-Tailed Gecko, Australia is home to an abundance of lizards, each more vibrant than the last. Many of these lizards inhabit different areas, and so every direction you turn there is sure to be a lizard hiding somewhere!
Crocodiles – one of the closest creatures to dinosaurs we have left, crocodiles have changed very little overtime. They come in both saltwater and freshwater varieties, with freshwater breeds being pretty much harmless to humans and are characterised as smaller than their saltwater counterparts.
Turtles – we all want to save them, so let’s find out a little more about these shell-bearing wonders. Creating their nests along the coastal reefs, I’m sure many have witnessed the bravery of baby turtles through our screens as documentaries shout hatchlings making a mad dash for the sea, trying not to succumb to predators whilst still on land.
Top jobs working with reptiles
There are a multitude of jobs which involve working closely with reptiles of all different kinds. But we didn’t want this blog to be 100 pages long, so we picked out a few of our favourites for you:
The job of a herpetologist involves the scientific research and study of reptile and amphibian groups, in an attempt to learn further about their biology, behaviours, habitats and effects on the environment. This is an excellent job choice for those who love getting to the nitty gritty of a subject, working their way into these foreign worlds and thereby allowing us to better understand the creatures with which we share the world, and how to ensure a safer future for them.
The anatomy of every animal is inherently unique, particularly that of our cold-blooded friends. A reptile veterinarian would be responsible for the physical health and wellbeing of reptiles, aiding with everything from illness and injury to general check-ups and non-life threatening conditions. They work to keep reptiles in the best shape possible and as comfortable as they can, often in the hopes of growing their numbers and reducing the risk of extinction.
For those with a flair for the exciting and dangerous, animal control might be right up your street. This job often involves call outs to homes or establishments to safely remove a dangerous animal from the premises. Animal control requires a high level of knowledge and skill to ensure the safety of both human and animal. Controllers must know how to correctly and safely handle these animals, how to store them and transport them to a more appropriate location.
One of the best jobs for those who love to get up close and personal with animals, and for those who are passionate about animal care and are unafraid to handle these delicate, and occasionally dangerous, creatures. Zookeepers maintain the health and happiness of animals in captivity, observing and conserving them whilst still encouraging their natural behaviours.
Experts in observation, naturalists observe flora and fauna in natural habitats in order to gain greater insight and understanding into the workings of their ecosystem. This is a minimally invasive job and requires a keen eye and an innate passion and interest in the subject matter – as well as considerable patience! Naturalists should have a great respect for nature, simply observing rather than interfering in any way.
Want to capture the inner workings of reptilian life with minimal interference into their hidden world? Maybe nature photography would be a good career fit. Nature photographers are tasked with travelling to all corners of the globe to capture beautiful, intricate images of animals that some of us may never see in person. These pictures can educate people on the secret lives of the world’s fauna, as well as show them the beauty and uniqueness of the natural world.
Interested in working with our ectothermic friends?
Looking into herpetology courses online and researching herpetology Australia can give you a clearer overview of the types of reptiles you could be working with in your local area, and what job opportunities there may be in the herpetology market.
To give you a flying start, here at My Learning Online we have a collection of working with animals courses, including several comprehensive reptile courses that may spark your interest.
Our courses include:
Certifications in Reptile Conservation – many of these beautiful and unique critters are at risk of extinction, and so it’s time for humans to step in and take action – could you be one of them? This course will equip you with vital knowledge of herpetology, amphibian anatomy and physiology, ecology and environmental needs, captivity legislation, conservation strategies, habitat management, and more.
Marine Studies – passionate about turtles and other sea-faring creatures? This could be the course for you. You will learn about ocean conservation and how to maintain this beautiful ecosystem from the negative impact of human industry and interference.
Reptile Zoology – an excellent choice for an all-rounder training in reptile welfare. You will learn valuable information about each reptilian group, gaining insight and information on their biology, anatomy, general healthcare and habitats. As well as this, the course includes general zoo keeping units such as captive husbandry and safe animal handling/care.
All our courses come with a downloadable brochure to provide you with more information on course content, modules and assessments, how we work in terms of our online learning system, as well as information on tutor support and guidance on course fee payment plans.
Our course advisors are always on hand to help should you have any pressing questions or queries – we would love to hear from you and cannot wait to help you take the next step on your career journey!