Creature Feature: SidewinderStephen

 

Stephen Maddox

Animal Keeper

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Reptiles Alive Name: SidewinderStephen

Hisstory: After spending his childhood roaming the swamps in southeastern Virginia, SidewinderStephen decided to study biology at James Madison University.  After graduation, he relocated to the DC area and started working as an invasive plant control technician.  He applied for the Reptiles Alive Animal Keeper position and was hired to work with us in April 2013.

RA Diet: Dried fruits and whatever else he is able to forage for in his fridge in the morning before work.

Natural Diet: SidewinderStephen’s favorite food is Mexican – especially burritos, MUY DELICIOSO! He also enjoys anything that comes off a grill.

Range: SidewinderStephen grew up in swamp in southeastern Virginia called Poquouson. He then migrated to the mountains of Virginia to attend James Madison University. He now resides in Northern Virginia where he enjoys working with all the cool RA animals.

Habitat: Preferring the Blue Ridge Mountains where it is nice and cool, SidewinderStephen spends much of his time along river banks searching for fish.

Size: SidewinderStephen is 5’10” with an awesome beard that makes him seem even larger!

Lifespan: SidewinderStephen could live to 90 years or more.

Reproduction: At home, SidewinderStephen is currently raising a little leopard gecko named Betty.

Conservation: On the days that SidewinderStephen is not taking care of the RA animals, he can be found in the woods hunting down and removing exotic invasive plant species from our local parks and natural areas. The conservation of nature for future generations is SidewinderStephen’s greatest goal – he wants future generations to be as moved by nature as he was.

Cool Facts: While attending James Madison, SidewinderStephen spent a spring-break vacation taking a class in the Bahamas to study carbonate deposition in coral reef ecosystems. He has also spent time on various rivers, from the calm James River in Virginia to the raging Colorado in the Grand Canyon.

 

 

Creature Feature: Amaya Perez

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Amaya Perez

Animal Keeper

Reptiles Alive Name: Amazing Alligator Amaya (aka Triple A)

Hissstory: Amaya got her Masters in Telecommunications Engineering in her native Pamplona, Spain.  Amaya’s adventures since migrating to the US in the summer of 2001  include performing research on different species of bats and working  as a  Keeper Aide at the National Zoo.  Amaya joined the Reptiles Alive! team in September 2010.

RA Diet: Leftovers or a frozen meal heated up in the super amazing RA microwave. That thing is on steroids!. Oh yeah, a coffee in the morning is a must.

Natural Diet: Even though Amaya’s natural diet is Mediterranean food, she loves to try new flavors.   She is the ultimate omnivore and will eat just about anything with gusto.

Range: “Amayas” or “Amaias” are most often found in the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula. They are a hardy and adaptable species and can now be found in several continents.

Habitat: You can regularly find Amaya roaming the wonderful natural parks in the DC metro area guiding her offspring and teaching them survival skills. Playgrounds are likely to produce sightings as well. When away from her offspring you can find Amaya at RA’s headquarters baby-talking to the animals or at the National Zoo coming up with fun and crafty enrichment ideas  in between cleaning and feeding.

Size: Amaya is about 5’7” and would rather not disclose her weight.

Lifespan: Amaya rarely gets a good night sleep so she is afraid years are being shaved off of her life. If sleeping patterns improve, Amaya could live up to 80 years or more.

Reproduction: Amazing Alligator Amaya has been mated for 10 years and has produced three rambunctious offspring with our very own Boa Brad.

Conservation: Amaya has always been in love with animals. Her biggest dreams when she was a little girl was going to Africa to be amongst some of the coolest animals on Earth and becoming a veterinarian.
Even though her background is in engineering her life has been dedicated to animals (including juvenile human primates) since her migration across the Atlantic.
Amaya enjoys caring for animals greatly and also loves sharing her knowledge and love for animals with the public when working at the zoo. Amaya also enjoys training animals and learning about animal behavior.

Cool Facts: Amaya has been an animal keeper since 2002 and has worked with a wide variety of non-reptilians. Amongst the creatures on her list are: lions, tigers, spectacled bears, sloth bears, giant pandas, gorillas, orangutans,Sulawesi macaques, gibbons, lemurs, coatis, caracals, servals and red pandas.
Amaya has only recently discovered how cool reptiles are and loves learning about them.
She has made it her mission to always soak the elderly animals in comforting warm baths at RA  every day she works.  Amaya also loves to hear Jeremiah the Bullfrog sing in happiness after she gives him a tasty treat.