Meet Our Team 11/08/2016
How long have you worked here? 2 years.
What animals do you work with? I work on the Herpetology Section and spend most of my time caring for the amphibians– that’s the frogs, toads, caecilians and salamanders that we have at the zoo. But I also help to look after the snakes, lizards, turtles, tortoises, crocodilians and tuatara that we have here.
Tell us an interesting facts about you: I enjoy travelling and like to take a look at local amphibians wherever I go! Recently I travelled to Slovenia to see the Olm – a rare salamander found in only found in a few underground caves in eastern Europe. I’m also very excited to go to Madagascar in 2016 to survey golden mantella frogs.
Why did you become a keeper? I used to visit the zoo a lot with my family when I was little, and was always so jealous of the keepers who got to actually go in and play with the animals! As I got a bit older I realised that there was a little bit more to the job than that, but I knew I wanted to work in conservation. Working as a keeper at Chester Zoo means I get to work with amazing rare and exotic species every day and help with out with several conservation projects.
What’s your favourite animal and why? It’s hard to pick just one but probably the Surinam toad. Their scientific name is Pipa pipa so I was always going to like them, but they’re also really fascinating. The baby toads emerge from their mother’s back (kind of gross!) rather than hatching from spawn like a lot of amphibians do.
What’s the best part of your job? Being surprised with a clutch of eggs that you’d been hoping for for a while is always exciting, and watching tadpoles develop over the weeks into little frogs never gets boring. I also really enjoy being in the zoo outside of opening hours, you get to see the animals behaving very differently and it feels like such a privilege.
What’s the worst part of your job? It’s always tough if an animal you’re caring for becomes unwell. It’s impossible not to worry about them when you go home in the evening.
What’s been your most memorable moment in your career to date? Its bittersweet, but finding Mountain Chicken tadpoles in a nest in June was so exciting! Unfortunately they didn’t survive, but that moment made me even more determined and hopeful that we’d have our own baby Mountain Chicken frogs one day.
What’s so special about Chester Zoo? It's full of people who really love what they do and there’s always something exciting going on. There’s a great sense of community and keepers are always helping each other out.
Have you visited any of our conservation projects abroad? If so which ones and what did you do? I’ll making my first visit to a conservation project in January 2016 and I’m so excited. I’ll be travelling to Madagascar to survey wild populations of the critically endangered Golden Mantella frogs. They’re a species that we have at the zoo and I have worked with every day for the past few years, so seeing them in the wild is going to be awesome!