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Herpetology Experience and Research Program (HERP)

Gain practical, hands-on experience with a wide variety of reptile and amphibian species in both field and captive settings. Learn from career professionals in regular seminars, workshops and guest lectures. Be part of a group of passionate people working and learning together in a residential setting. Acquire job skills, networking connections, and resume builders that are essential for success.

The Herpetology Experience and Research Program (formerly the Herpetology Internship Program) is a unique and immersive experience designed for post-secondary students or recent graduates to enhance their career prospects in the field of herpetology. Practical experience is blended with classroom instruction to build skills that are critical to success in this field.

This 8-12 month residential training program includes:

  • Biology and conservation of reptile and amphibian species

  • Animal handling and husbandry of 70+ captive species

  • Field methods and outdoor skills

  • GIS skills, data collection and analyses

  • Education and media 

  • Project management

  • Cost includes shared housing, food, transportation and activities 


Why participate?

Practical Components 

Throughout your time as a herpetology intern, you will have opportunities to gain valuable practical skills and experiences in a variety of areas.

Core Practical Components:


  • Herp Husbandry- assisting with care of 500+ reptiles and amphibians of 70+ different species, including both natives and exotics, permanent captives, headstarts and rehab patients for release and a Species Survival Plan conservation breeding centre 

  • Fieldwork- as seasonal conditions and projects allow, this includes wetland, open water, terrestrial and road surveys in various parts of Ontario, capture and processing of various species, mark-recapture, blood and tissue sampling, radio-telemetry and more. 

Instructional Components 

Regular workshops and seminars presented by our instructor team will provide formal or informal opportunities to explore a variety of topics related to herpetology and conservation, as well as develop specific skills. Guest lectures will also bring in outside expertise and provide additional networking 

Core Instructional Components:

  • Herptile Husbandry

  • Herptile Biology and Conservation

  • Field Methods

Elective Instructional Components:

  • Public Education

  • Data Collection and Analysis 

  • GIS mapping

  • Project Management 

  • Outdoor Skills

  • Media

  • Independent Project

What Past Participants Had to Say!

"The biggest adventure of my life! I can't wait for more! Thank you for the opportunity, the trust and being an incredible host."

“I have never had an opportunity to work with so many native animals. This has been the perfect combination of field experience and getting my foot in the door doing real conservation! I have loved my time here!”

"It has enriched my experience and knowledge. I am grateful for all that I learned!"

Our Facilities

Scales Nature Park is a conservation facility focused on Canadian reptiles and amphibians. With 21 hectares of forests, meadows and wetlands, as well as ponds and two coldwater streams, the park protects a variety of habitats

Our nature centre houses the largest and most complete live collection of Canadian herpetofauna. 

Interns will live in on-site accommodations and all food will be provided

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