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Louisiana Pine Snake Keeper

Fort Worth Zoo
Fort Worth, United States Posted: March 28, 2024

The responsibility of this position is to maintain and care for animals within the Texas Native Wildlife Center as directed, primarily focusing on the Louisiana Pine Snake program; to assist veterinary staff as needed; and to perform a variety of activities relative to the assigned area of responsibility. As necessary and time allows, similar tasks in other areas of the Ectotherms Department may be assigned. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Provide necessary husbandry parameters and appropriate environments for species in assigned section
  • All animal enclosures should be kept clean (i.e., flushed if appropriate or substrate changed on regular basis, free of fecal/urate material, clean water bowl and props, uneaten food removed, etc.)
  • Animal exhibits should be checked daily and serviced prior to the public’s arrival (i.e., clean glass, cover exposed water bowls or pots, remove dead plants, feces/urates, cobwebs, uneaten food- especially dead rodents)
  • Animal enclosures should be completely stripped and cleaned as needed (i.e., disease or parasite problem, mite, roach or cricket infestation, if the animal dies, if a new species is moved into the enclosure, if the substrate and props are dirty, the exhibit is unsightly, etc.) Some enclosures will require more frequent tear-downs (minimum once per year for most species), dependent upon species and bio load
  • All dangerous animal enclosures and locks are to be checked for security purposes daily and any problems relayed immediately to supervisor.
  • Provide appropriate back-up coverage as relief keeper (use check sheet, record observations, accurate communication, clean and feed, etc.)
  • Water chemistries are to be conducted on a regular basis following all protocols
  • Salad and nectar bowls, uneaten rodents, etc. should be removed at the end of the day and not left overnight (except for nocturnal species or problem feeders). This also applies to food offered to aquatic species
  • Feces should be removed daily from exhibit and reserve enclosures
  • All animals should be checked daily and observations should be noted on cage card (if applicable) and TRACKS. Health Alerts should be submitted as needed and all major findings should be reported to a supervisor immediately.
  • Maintain all animal records. Each animal enclosure must have an updated cage card (if applicable) and records in TRACKS
  • Abnormal feeding patterns should be noted on feed cards, TRACKS and reported to supervisor (i.e., if animal misses three feedings in a row, regurgitation, has trouble catching or eating prey, etc.), as well as discussed at weekly staff meetings
  • Check out with supervisor before leaving at the end of the day and relay any pertinent information/updates verbally
  • Carry out animal diet directives from management. Discuss any diet, supplementation, or feeding change requests with supervisor
  • Weights are to be taken on all animals on a regular basis (i.e., birth or hatching, opportunistically when being handled, suspected weight loss, prior to shipment, etc.). All animals are to be weighed a minimum of twice per year, or as directed by management, and recorded in TRACKS
  • Animal training and enrichment directives assigned by management are to be implemented within instructed time frame and recorded in TRACKS
  • All venomous animal handling protocols are to be strictly followed
  • Maintain safe and clutter-free work environment
  • Keep all work areas and building parameter clean and free of debris
  • Monitor building temperatures and equipment. Report malfunctions to supervisor
  • Conduct routine filter changes and backwashes according to SOPs, as scheduled, or needed. Clean large pools as assigned or needed.
  • Act in a professional and courteous manner with coworkers and zoo visitors. Present keeper talks as scheduled
  • Be respectful of coworkers, maintain a positive work environment and team atmosphere
  • Manage time appropriately to complete daily routine and work on extra projects
  • Live prey and food cultures are to be properly maintained and in adequate supply
  • Public and keeper work areas are to be kept organized and clean (i.e., floors swept and mopped daily, cobwebs removed, shelves, exhibits, light fixtures dusted, etc.)
  • UV light bulbs should be hung at an appropriate distance from animal (varies for bulb type). Bulbs should be marked with date upon installation. Bulbs should be replaced as needed (indicated by using UVB meter and range chart) and entered into TRACKS. UVB output should be monitored 48 hours after installation and every six months thereafter using the UV meter. All readings should be written on the light fixture.
  • Animal equipment should be cleaned properly after use to prevent disease transmission and stored properly. Footbaths are to be used when requested by management and should be maintained daily and used properly
  • When animal sections are redistributed, the current keeper is to: weigh animal, conduct visual inspection of animal with supervisor and new keeper, discuss current husbandry procedures and any pertinent behaviors or other relative information. All records are to be complete and updated prior to transfer
  • Fulfill other duties as assigned in Animal Programs Keeper Job Description
  • To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Must have one year of zoo keeping experience
  • Scuba certified for Aquarist position
  • Valid driver license with acceptable motor vehicle record to maintain zoo standards of insurability
Must possess ability to:
  • Work independently in the absence of immediate supervision
  • Understand and follow oral and written instructions
  • Communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships
  • Maintain physical condition appropriate to the performance of assigned duties and responsibilities 
Education and/or Experience:
  • High School diploma or equivalent
  • Bachelor’s degree in wildlife management, zoology, animal behavior, biology, ecology, psychology or related field preferred
  • Specialized training in zoology or a related field desirable but not required
Physical Demands: 
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel; reach with hands and arms; stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl; and talk or hear.
  • The employee must regularly lift and/or or move up to 75 pounds.
Work Environment:
  • The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.
  • Team oriented environment
  • Ability to work irregular hours (holidays and weekends)
  • Exposure to a variety of domestic and wild or potentially dangerous animals; animal odors and animal body fluids
  • Exposure to all types of inclement weather conditions
  • Exposure to chemicals (cleaning, water chemicals, additives, etc.)
  • Ability to work special events and functions as required
  • This position may be safety sensitive
  • This position may work around animals susceptible to specific diseases, thus may be subject to regular tuberculosis and rabies titer testing, and the routine use of personal protective equipment such as gloves, face masks
  • The above job description is meant to describe the general nature and level of work being performed; it is not intended to be construed as a complete inventory of all responsibilities, duties and skills required for the position.
  • This job description in no way states or implies that these are the only duties to be performed by the employee occupying this position. Employees will be required to follow any other job-related instructions and to perform other job-related duties requested by their supervisor.
  • Requirements are representative of minimum levels of knowledge, skills and/or abilities. To perform this job successfully, the employee must possess the abilities or aptitudes to perform each duty proficiently. Continued employment remains on an at-will basis.
  • This is a full-time position and offers the following benefits:
  • Medical and Prescription Drug (Employee Coverage 90% Employer Paid, Dependent Coverage 55% Employer Paid)
  • Vision
  • Dental
  • Basic Life AD&D (100% Employer Paid)
  • Short Term Disability (100% Employer Paid)
  • Long Term Disability (100% Employer Paid)
  • Supplemental Life
  • Flexible Spending Account
  •  401k
  • Paid Time Off (Accrual Equivalent to 5 Weeks Per Year)
  • PTO Rollover
  • PTO Sell Back
  • Free Zoo Membership
  • Free Guest Passes
  • Discounts on Food, Merchandise, Attractions, Admission and Programs

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