Director & Wildlife Educator
Reptiles Alive Name: CobraCaroline (aka The Reptile Lady)
Hisstory: CobraCaroline performed her first live reptile show in public when she was 9 years old. She continued presenting wildlife education programs through high school and college and then worked a few years at various zoos and nature centers. In 1996, she founded “The Reptile Lady” which would soon become “Reptiles Alive LLC.”
RA Diet: Favorite lunch time items for Cobra Caroline include banh mi sandwiches, BLT’s with homegrown tomatoes, and anything her mom cooks for her.
Natural Diet: CobraCaroline is an opportunistic omnivore. She will eat both plants and animals, including seafood. Her diet is variable depending on the seasons. Winter foods may include slow cooked soups and stews, where as summer fare typically includes vegetables grown in her garden and fish and crabs from the Chesapeake Bay.
Range: Although CobraCaroline was born in Arlington and has lived her whole life in northern Virginia, she spends much of her time traveling, especially to Reno, NV where her father lives. She also has had special opportunities to spend time on the Big Island of Hawaii where her brother lives and works as a sea turtle biologist.
Habitat: You could find CobraCaroline in many different habitats. If you are on the road, look for her driving the reptile van to a show. You might see her performing a show at a school, library, festival, or other venue. She manages the office, so she spends a lot of time on the phone and on the computer. And she supervises the animal collection, so she spends time monitoring the health and care of the animals here. WHEW – she is everywhere!
Size: Don’t be fooled by CobraCaroline’s size. At 5 feet tall, she is more than capable of handling a giant python, capturing a crocodile, or carrying a heavy tortoise.
Lifespan: CobraCaroline could live to 80 years or more.
Reproduction: CobraCaroline has successfully raised many plants and vegetables into a beautiful home garden.
Conservation: Since she was 4 years old, CobraCaroline has dedicated her life to teaching other people how important snakes and other animals are to our environment. She spent her childhood learning about nature by reading books, writing in her nature journal, and spending copious amounts of time in the swamp near her house searching for snakes, frogs, insects and other creatures. She started volunteering at nature centers and zoos as a teenager and became a Virginia Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator when she was 18. Wildlife conservation IS Caroline’s life.
Cool Facts: After graduating from George Mason University with a B.A. in Speech Communication, CobraCaroline spent some years working a variety of fun jobs. She worked as a park naturalist at Hidden Pond Nature Center; a park ranger Mason Neck State Park where she lead canoe trips into bald eagle habitats and a wildlife educator at a zoo where she performed shows with monkeys, kinkajous, exotic birds, and other animals. One of her strangest jobs was working for an animal removal company as a “Snake Removal Technician.” This involved spending hours crawling through dirty and sometimes scary crawlspaces and attics searching for snakes and inspecting the facility to figure out how to stop them from getting in.
CobraCaroline feels lucky every day – as the director of Reptiles Alive, she gets to “work” at job she loves. She can’t imagine doing anything else. Caroline proudly serves on the Board of the Virginia Herpetological Society.