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Reptile Discovery Center Husbandry Internship

This internship has closed. To see open and upcoming opportunities, visit the internships page.

The Reptile Discovery Center at the Smithsonian's National Zoo is seeking an animal behavior intern for the summer semester. The intern will help observe, record and analyze animal behavior. This position requires a bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences, good observation and communication skills, and a minimum commitment of 16 hours per week.

Learning Objectives: 

This is an unpaid internship opportunity wherein the intern will support the Department of Animal Programs — Reptile Discovery Center. Through this internship, interns will:

  • Learn to observe, record and analyze animal behavior
  • Learn alongside professional animal care staff basic animal husbandry including cleaning exhibits, preparing food, general facility maintenance, and assisting with environmental enhancements
  • Learn formal and informal interpretive educational programs for visitors
  • Learn and follow all safety protocols and policies of the unit
  • Learn USDA and AZA guidelines, NZP directives, procedures and protocols, and other related literature
  • Strong preference will be given to graduate students or recent graduates pursuing a career in a related field.
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team environment with staff and volunteers
  • Strong communication and public speaking skills
  • Ability to stand, stoop, climb, and lift up to 50 pounds
  • Flexibility and a good sense of humor
  • Must have a current negative TB test.
  • Available to assist a regular schedule, that may include weekends and holidays
This is an unpaid internship. Special consideration will be given to applicants who receive college credit for internship. Intern is responsible for obtaining necessary approvals from their university. Intern will be responsible for all transportation costs and personal health insurance.
Washington DC
The intern will make his or her own housing arrangements in the Washington, D.C., area.
The Smithsonian's National Zoo and the Smithsonian Institution do not provide free parking to interns. There is limited parking at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia.
Term of appointment: 

Three-and-a-half month internships are available for the fall (September to December), spring (March to June) and summer (May toAugust).  Interns should be able to devote 16 hours per week. Reasonable exceptions may be made in order to coordinate with university or work schedules.

The summer session application deadline is April 1, 2019.

Application deadline(s): 
Monday, April 1, 2019
Internship Category: 
Animal Programs
How to Apply: 

To apply, go to: https://solaa.si.edu. Select "Don't have an Account? Create An Account." Complete the information to create an account.

Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • Professional resume or CV
  • A one-page statement of your interest in pursuing this position. The statement should mention relevant experience, career goals, your reasons for wanting this internship, and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your statement is very important during application evaluations
  • Degrees held or expected
  • One Letter of Reference
  • Schedule of availability.

Once you create your account and provide the information above, you will see a screen where you select the type of appointment you are interested in. You will select:

  • Type of appointment: “Internship”
  • Unit of interest: “National Zoological Park”
  • Program: “National Zoological Park Internship Program”
  • Project: “Rock creek - Reptile Discovery Center”

IMPORTANT: Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit.” Your SOLAA submitted application with references must be received by the deadlines as noted above.


Email Matt Evans at evansmj@si.edu for further information about this internship