Job Opening: Animal Keeper

Job Opening:  Animal Keeper

Reptiles Alive LLC, located in Annandale VA,  is looking to hire a reliable, responsible and energetic professional to care for a collection of non-venomous reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates.

This is a permanent, part time (20-30 hours per week) position requiring the employee to work 3 weekdays per week.


Duties Will Include:

-Handling non-venomous reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates

-Cleaning animal enclosures

-Preparing animal food and feeding the animals

-Record keeping & light office work

-General cleaning of animal and office areas



Applicants must be highly responsible and able to work without supervision caring for a diverse collection of live exotic animals.

Ability to lift 40 pounds and work a physically active job for 8 hours per day.

Preferred candidates will have experience with and knowledge about reptile husbandry.

Successful candidate will have a clean criminal background and driving record check.


Pay starting at $15 per hour based on experience.

Please email your cover letter, resume, and 3 references to:

reptile birthday - animal party

Creature Feature: Boa Constrictors

Boa Constrictor

Boa constrictor

Reptiles Alive Names: “Cinco & Sunglow (the albino)”

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Cinco the boa constrictor sporting a ‘stache.


school assemblies - reptile program

Sunglow the albino boa constrictor

Hisssstory: Cinco was an unwanted pet that was left with the Alexandria Animal Welfare League’s animal shelter and then we adopted him. Sunglow came to us from a citizen who no longer wanted to care for her.

RA Diet: Frozen, defrosted and then warmed up jumbo sized dead rats.  Yummmmmmmmmmm.

Range: Boa constrictors have an enormous range from Mexico to Argentina.

 Boa constrictors  live in many habitats:  rain forests, dry tropical woodlands, grasslands, farms, and even urban regions.

Natural Diet: Boa constrictors will consume birds,  small mammals, and occasionally reptiles.

Size: Boa constrictors grow to an average length of 6 – 9 feet and have been know to grow to over 12 feet long. The anaconda, which is related to boa constrictors, is considered one of the largest snakes in world and can grow to more than 20 feet!

Reproduction: Females give live birth of up to 50 babies at a time.  One of the big differences between boas and pythons is that boas give birth to live young and pythons lay eggs.

 Boa constrictors are  long living snakes and can live for 40 years.

 Threats include:  human predation, roads, habitat loss and the pet trade. This is one of  the most commonly abandoned pet snakes.   Boa constrictors  get large, requiring custom built reptile enclosures, high heat and humidity, and food not found at the local grocery store!  Boas are not a great pet choice for most people.

Cool Facts: 
Boa constrictors are the kings and queens of the jungle.  Most rain forest animals are adapted to live in a specific layer of the forest.  For example:  Amazon river turtles live in the river, giant toads live on the forest floor,  and iguanas live in the canopy.  Boa constrictors, however, are adapted for living in all the layers of the jungle.  Like all snakes, they swim, so you can find them in the river.  Their beautiful colors give them camouflage that makes them almost invisible while resting quietly on the forest floor.  And, boa constrictors love to hang out in the canopy!  The boa constrictor is the master of the rain forest.

5 Easy Steps to Help a Turtle Cross the Road

5 Easy Steps to Help a Turtle Cross the Road

reptile party - snake party - kids party

Here at Reptiles Alive, we often get asked about how to help turtles that are in the middle of a road.  Although this may seem like a simple question, let’s break the answer down to 5 easy steps.

  1.  Determine how SAFE the road is for YOU to be in it!  Seriously, do not risk your life or the lives of other drivers by going into the middle of a busy highway.  If the road is safe enough for you to pull over and/or walk into the road, then…
  2.  Look at the DIRECTION the turtle is walking.  This is where the turtle wants to go.  Turtles have a mind of their  own and they know their own area or territory.  The turtle has a reason for crossing the road, we’re just going to help it along.
  3. Pick the turtle up CAREFULLY. Keep fingers and body parts away from the turtle’s head (they can bite) and support the turtle using both hands to pick up from the top and support underneath. Please note, if the turtle is large or you think it is a snapping turtle, do not attempt to handle the turtle.  Either use a shovel or broom to “encourage” the turtle to move across the road or call the animal control department of the county you are in.
  4. Walk the turtle IN THE DIRECTION IT WAS HEADED to the other side of the road above any curb and gently set it down.
  5. Say buh-bye to the turtle and then WASH YOUR HANDS.  All animals, including turtles, can have bacteria on their skin that on occasion can cause illness in humans.

Now let’s talk about what NOT to do.

  1. Do not relocate the turtle to another area.  Turtles have territories where they know where the water sources, food sources, and hibernation sites are located. If you move the turtle to another location it may not survive because of dehydration, starvation, or hypothermia.
  2. Do not relocate the turtle to another area.  New, emerging diseases are being found in certain turtle populations in North America and if you move a turtle, you may spread diseases which can kill other turtles.
  3. Do not relocate the turtle to your home.  Although adorable, turtles are wild animals. They have very special captive care requirements and most do not survive being kept as a pet.  Those that do survive captivity can live 80 or more years!  And if you get tired of caring for your turtle pet (who won’t snuggle or play Frisbee with you) you cannot release it back to wild because – SEE ABOVE.
  4. Do not relocate the turtle to your home.  Turtle populations are in trouble.  Because turtles have such a slow reproductive rate, every adult turtle in a population counts.  By removing a turtle, you could be damaging an entire turtle population.



Searching for Snakes

Searching for Snakes

Post by Elizabeth Thompson (LizardLiz)

We are beginning to enjoy warm weather for hiking, biking, and water fun. Being outdoors allows us to interact with nature and view exciting wildlife. Many people enjoy fishing, bird watching, and viewing squirrels and deer. Sometimes, however,  people feel uncomfortable when they see one of our snake neighbors. What do you do when you see a snake outdoors? Do you take a picture? Do you call your family to share the experience? Do you run away screaming?

school assemblies - school performers - kids entertatiners

Harmless Eastern Rat Snake

In addition to my career as a Wildlife Educator and Animal Keeper, I often spend free time engaging in an activity which some people might find disconcerting. I love to spend warm days walking through the woods, deliberately searching for native reptiles and amphibians. This activity is known as “herping” because the study of reptiles and amphibians is called herpetology. I find herping to be quite rewarding and you can too! The key to enjoying herping is knowledge and a desire to learn more. Here are some basic tips to help you get started.

When enjoying wildlife viewing, remember to give animals space. We all love watching birds in flight and deer grazing in a field. But reptiles and amphibians also deserve to be observed without being disturbed. Often times, when we encounter reptiles and amphibians, they are sitting still, basking in the sun. While I am always tempted to see them move, it is best to watch from a distance. Snakes will bite to defend themselves from potential predators – and they perceive humans as predators we try to touch them. The only dangerous snake is the one you try to mess with.

Show - Performance - Kids

Harmless Eastern Garter Snake acting fierce

While hiking around the Northern Virginia and Washington DC area, the most common reptile that I find are garter snakes. These are small, harmless snakes that prefer to eat worms and slugs. Many snakes in our area have distinctive colors and patterns that allow a practiced observer to identify them without getting too close. For example, garter snakes tend to have long stripes going from their head to their tail and a checker pattern in between the stripes.

Copperhead snakes, our only native venomous snake in the Washington DC metro area, are often described as having Hershey Kiss shaped patterns down their sides. It is always a good idea to bring a herpetological field guide while you are herping to better help you in identifying the reptiles and amphibians that you encounter. However, just like people, snakes can be extremely variable and may not look at all like what your field guide describes. The best way to stay safe is to leave all snakes alone.

snake party - lizard party - reptile party

Venomous copperhead – note the bright yellow tail they have when juveniles

I like to maintain a mental list of the animals I have seen in my life, which makes certain moments extremely special when I observe something new. This month, I saw my very first queen snake. In fact there were two! I was especially proud because I was able to share this sighting with my family and friends who were herping for the first time. If you find yourself herping, whether deliberately or a snake just happened to cross your path, use it as an opportunity to educate yourself and anyone around you. Snakes are not the scary monsters that our culture sometimes makes them out to be. Snakes would much rather continue with their daily lives than have to defend themselves against the big, scary Godzilla monster (you). They are also very beneficial to the environment, as natural rodent, pest, and disease control. I strongly recommend taking pictures or even videos of any reptile or amphibian you find. This way you can share the experience with friends and family!

Program - Children - Scouts

A pair of harmless Queen Snakes

My favorite thing about herping is expanding my knowledge base. Any time I notice new behavior or a species I haven’t seen before, I learn everything I can by reading books and asking other professionals lots of questions. Everyone is capable of being a scientist in this way!

Before heading out,  challenge yourself to our “Common Snake Myths- BUSTED!” online quiz to see how much snake knowledge you already have.

To learn more about snakes, and safely get up close with live snakes, book our “Snakes Alive!” live animal program. You will meet a variety of snakes from different habitats and learn about their natural behavior. You will also learn about threats to these really unique animals and how you can help our snake neighbors.

Now it’s time to enjoy the warm weather and all that nature has to offer!

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Harmless mole king snake


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  1. Reptiles Alive at Lubber Run Amphitheater

    August 26 @ 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
  2. Takoma Park Library Reptiles Alive Show

    August 29 @ 10:30 am - 11:15 am
We had a great experience with Reptiles Alive for my daughter’s 6th birthday party. Rachel arrived exactly on time, set up quickly, and immediately engaged the group of curious children. We had an impromptu dance party while waiting for last minute guests and Rachel was very accommodating. The children LOVED the show!! And my soon-to-be 11 year old wants them to come for his birthday! I highly recommend Reptiles Alive for your next event!read more

Kelly Maguire

Kelly Maguire

22:57 12 Mar 18

We just had Reptiles Alive come to our preschool and the kids loved it!! We had 4 shows over 2 days to accommodate all our children and everything went great! Caroline was very easy to work with and quick to respond to all my emails. She was our presenter too and was early each day and ready to go when the kids arrived. She really geared her show towards our audience (2-5yr olds) and had them laughing and answering her questions and touching the animals. It was perfect… we would definitely book them again!!read more

Lauren Dolinski

Lauren Dolinski

20:47 01 Mar 18

We booked Reptiles Alive for our son’s 7th birthday party. Miss Rachel put on an amazing show for the 20 kids we had over. The highlight was when my son and I had the chance to hold a long and surprisingly heavy boa constrictor named Sunflower. The show was both educational and fun for the kids, and it kept them captivated for a full hour – priceless!!read more

Rick Jandrain

Rick Jandrain

01:53 06 Feb 18

Rachel is an awesome instructor and very good with many kids. The reptiles were fascinating. This was a great birthday party for my daughter and her second grade more

Robert McKeon

Robert McKeon

23:26 26 Feb 18

We invited Reptiles Alive for our birthday party. Ms. Rachel did a wonderful job to educate the kids about the fun facts of Reptiles and also kept them entertained and focused. It’s not a easy job facing a bunch of 7-year-old boys and 3-year-old preschoolers. We highly recommend Reptiles Alive show. It’s fun and full of knowledge!read more

Tianchan Niu

Tianchan Niu

22:09 17 Dec 17

We had Reptiles Alive join us for a country club event and they did an outstanding job! Ashley was amazing and so professional. She was very interactive with the children and played the role perfectly. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience!read more

Chelsea Barb

Chelsea Barb

20:20 28 Mar 18

We’ve been working with Reptiles Alive for the past 4 years now and they show up and show out every time. Everything from booking to the day of is efficient and friendly. At our past event, presenter Liz did 6 shows back to back for our campers, which is truly impressive and phenomenal. We will continue to work with Reptiles Alive for years to come and really appreciate the work and educating that they do!read more

Lydia Vanderbilt

Lydia Vanderbilt

21:09 05 Apr 18

Reptiles Alive gave an awesome show at our elementary school! The presenter was so much fun and really engaged the children. Very cool reptiles and a great interactive meet and greet at the end. The kids loved it!read more

Jonathan Grau

Jonathan Grau

14:52 07 Apr 18

I am in charge of grade level assemblies at our school and our 3rd grade has RA in for their Rain Forest show every year to reinforce the things they have learned about in class. This is my second year working with them and I have been absolutely thrilled with the interaction to book the event and with the presenters. They engage the kids and help make them a part of the show. I can’t say enough about this wonderful program and the amazing people that work more

Kim Painter

Kim Painter

23:32 07 Apr 18

We love this show at our preschool!! The kids have so much fun and learn a lot! They are very organized and always start on time. We have always had a wonderful experience with Reptiles Alive and can’t wait to have them back again!read more

Melissa Jones

Melissa Jones

15:06 20 Apr 18

Reptiles Alive LLC visited our 1st grade friends and did the “Reptiles Alive!” show. They exceeded all of our expectations and were excellent at keeping the students engaged. The students have talked about it for days after, even repeating some of the facts they have heard! I would highly recommend Reptiles Alive!read more

Brittney Gjorgjievski

Brittney Gjorgjievski

16:12 14 May 18

Reptiles Alive was a MAJOR hit at the Mattie Miracle Walk & Family Festival. Rachel was incredibly professional, engaging, and clearly loves what she does. She made the show and meet & greet fun for both kids and adults. Can’t wait to have Reptiles Alive back next year to our event. We received a lot of positive feedback from our guests and we were thrilled to see how well attended the show was at our event. Thank you Reptiles Alive!!!read more

Peter Brown

Peter Brown

01:58 22 May 18

Caroline did an awesome job for our kindergarten Reptiles Alive performance. She held their attention and told fun stories. The reptiles are so cool! Every time she introduced a new reptile, the kids were amazed. I recommend the “meet and greet” time as well. My students will never forget touching a boa constrictor! Thanks Reptiles Alive!read more

Michelle Baldwin

Michelle Baldwin

03:00 09 Jun 18

Reptiles Alive! came to our elementary school for a 3rd grade assembly. Nothing ruffles this organization — they can handle kids of all ages, big groups or small, and bring a *ton* of animals. They are engaging, age-appropriate and bring their own mic system so hearing is not a problem. I highly recommend the meet and greet more

Stacey Evers

Stacey Evers

19:25 22 Jun 18

The show was a success, we had around 20 kids between 5-12. Lizzard Liz was great, she was able to keep all of them really interested. The reptiles were amazing, she even brought a small alligator and a boa more

florencia behrensen

florencia behrensen

14:39 02 Jul 18

Caroline at Reptiles Alive! always gives us the best show! It is fun and informative with a variety of reptiles each time she comes. We LOVE Reptiles Alive at Happy Faces Daycare in Centreville, VA!read more

Jessica Roberts

Jessica Roberts

13:56 12 Jul 18

Amazing 5-year old birthday party- Everyone loved the party, especially the birthday boy, who got to be the star of the show (besides the critters). Liz was on time, prepared, AMAZING at answering kids’ and adults’ questions, incredible breadth of knowledge, so good with the kids and animals, made the party fun, arrived on time, totally professional and courteous and an amazing ambassador of animals and representative of Reptiles Alive. We got to meet a few great snakes, a small alligator, a boa constrictor(!), tree frog, bearded dragon, gecko, and more

Stacey R

Stacey R

12:55 30 Jul 18

This organization is great! They have a wide varieties of different shows that appeal to all types of audiences. The educators are very gentle with the animals and engaging with the students. Our educator, Caroline, was awesome! She spoke to the children in different voices, was very interactive, creative, and fun. The kids laughed and loved it. I also really liked the additional education that they provided us, as they told us about the origin of the animals that they were showing. It was also really nice to hear that not only the animals have big, safe, appropriate homes, but also that a great deal of their animals are rescues. I would highly recommend this show and we will definitely be booking them again in the future!read more

Mandi Ellis

Mandi Ellis

13:05 08 Aug 18