Qualification - Proficiency Award in Herpetology, Wildlife and Zoo Keeping

Course CodeBEN211
Fee CodePA
Duration (approx)500 hours
QualificationProficiency Award

Professional Development Wildlife Course

What is herpetology? Herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptiles.  This course looks at herpetology, wildlife management and zoo keeping. This course is useful for anyone wanting to work with amphibians and reptiles in a zoo, wildlife park, pet shop, petting zoo or working as a volunteer. There are also other options, such as working with children to inform them about amphibians and reptiles. There are a lot of potential options for working with reptiles and amphibians. But there is a lot of competition for these roles. This course gives you a head start by showing you are an expert in the field of herpetology and are keen to improve and increase your knowledge.

An exciting course blending distance learning and work based research and/or practice.

To complete the course you are required to complete three core modules of -

  • Herpetology
  • Zookeeping
  • Wildlife Management  AND 
  • A 200 hour industry project/work based experience. Find out more below.



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification - Proficiency Award in Herpetology, Wildlife and Zoo Keeping.
 Industry Project BIP000
 Industry Project II BIP001
 Herpetology BEN209
 Wildlife Management BEN205
 Zoo Keeping BEN208

Note that each module in the Qualification - Proficiency Award in Herpetology, Wildlife and Zoo Keeping is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

The Healthy Animal

The healthy animal is interested in food. It will graze as normal, or in the case of animals in enclosures, look forward to the next feed. The healthy animal will drink its normal amount of water (this is easily checked with enclosed animals), but more difficult with animals out grazing, such as in safari parks.

The healthy animal appears bright and alert. It will show its normal response to humans (i.e. probably moving away as you approach if it is a grazing animal or approaching if it is very used to human company). Brightness is most apparent in the eyes. The animal will show interest in unusual noises and sights.

The healthy mammal’s coat and skin will be supple and in good condition. Hair is one of the first parts of the body to register ill health, and it will also look dull if the animal is lacking some essential vitamins or minerals.

The colour of the mucous membrane is a good indicator of health, as it shows the condition of the blood. Mucous membrane is found around the eye, on the gums, inside the mouth, and at the entrance to the anus. In healthy animals, it should show a salmon pink colouring (but not vivid red).

The healthy animal will pass the normal number of excrement per day and the faeces will be neither too loose nor too dry for the type of animal, and will be passed easily. If you press your ear to the side of the animal, you should be able to hear rumbling noises -signs that the digestive system is working. The healthy animal will also pass normal coloured urine.

Ruminants which are in good health will spend the normal number of hours chewing the cud. Healthy animals will also spend a normal number of hours resting each day.  

Maintaining Health
The importance of nutrition to well being cannot be over stressed. A well nourished animal will have an effective natural immune system. A poorly fed animal is more susceptible to disease. It is not enough that zoo animals are given sufficient bulk to satisfy their appetites. The food given must supply all needs for carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals. The food provided must also be of good quality. Poor quality food can in itself, cause disease (eg. fungal spores in mouldy maize cobs).

Maintaining Hygiene
A good hygiene practice within enclosures is very important for maintaining animal health. Enclosures and their facilities should be decontaminated on a regular basis. Water needs to be changed often to maintain quality. This is very important for aquatic species and prevents contamination of the enclosure. Relevant zoo guidelines and legislation can provide guidance on how often water needs to be changed for specific species.

Enclosures should be easily drained so that water does not pool. Any animals that are sick or injured should not be on display and should be isolated, if possible, in treatment facilities supervised by the zoo veterinary staff and should be examined at least daily.

Disinfectants are used in conjunction with physical cleaning of some enclosures to removal possible contaminants. These are particularly important in reducing the risk of infection to young animals in nurseries. It is important to keep in mind that many disinfectants may be caustic or corrosive. Animals should be removed from facilities being disinfected and all surfaces rinsed after disinfecting. Strong smelling disinfectants should be avoided in cat enclosures as they can cause discomfort and illness.  

What Next?

If you would like to start an exciting new career working in herpetology, or improve your job prospects in your existing career, this is the course for you.  This course can provides you with the knowledge and skills to work in a wide variety of settings, such as, wildlife parks, zoos, petting zoos, working with children and adults teaching them about reptiles and amphibians, pet shops and much more. 

To be successful in herpetology, a love of reptiles and amphibians is essential, but a passion, persistence and willingness to do what you have to to  succeed is also important. This course is the way to go if you want to improve your own prospects in this exciting field or get started in working in the field of herpetology.

We have the experience and knowledge to help you to find out more about reptiles and amphibians.

So why delay? Enrol today.

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