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Arachnids and Reptiles? - August 8th 2012, 07:24 AM

Well as some of you know I am 17, and if you have seen previous threads of mine you will know that I was looking into ecology as a career. Sadly this can't work out, so as of late people have been pressuring me like crazy to pick a career path and start looking at colleges and whatnot and honestly I didn't want anything to do with it because Ecology was my dream job.
However, I was just speaking to my friend about my love for reptiles and arachnids. I have always had a love for them. So I was thinking about it, and actually oddly enough a episode of Law & Order SVU came into my mind of a woman who worked with spiders and I thought "Why don't I look into that?"
So, long story short I was wondering what sort of careers there are that work with arachnids or reptiles? As a side note I wouldn't mind working in like a zoo or something with the reptiles.
Also I heard something of a "Herpetologist", is this what it's called?
Thank you for your help.
   
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Re: Arachnids and Reptiles? - August 8th 2012, 08:45 AM

A zoo would be a great place to start. But there are plenty of ecology-related careers for individuals such as yourself.

A Herpetologist is an individual who specializes in Herpetology. This field specifically focuses on the study of amphibians and reptiles. However, you're better off majoring in Biology, or more specifically, Ecology. Either of those fields will give you an excellent foundation for Herpetology.

If you are interested in a research-oriented career, then you might want to consider working for the government, preferably federal. They have work-study programs that allow students to perform medical research in foreign countries, given the fact that there's a lot of diversity among animals and reptiles. These study programs typically last for a year or so.

Alternatively, you could look into becoming a veterinarian. No, I'm not talking about the type that will get the floss out of your dog's rear. Believe it or not, there are a lot of reptile vets out there who love mingling with so many diverse critters found on this planet. You could be just like them.

As long as you get your foot in the door, the possibilities are endless. I don't have to tell you to start looking at colleges, since you're going to do that anyway. But I suggest looking closely at programs that offer concentrations on a specific field. A good example is the University of Texas, San Antonio. They offer a Bachelor's degree in Biology with concentrations in either Cell and Molecular Biology, Integrative Biology, Microbiology/Immunology, Neurobiology, or Plant Biology. Look for a concentration that matches or comes close to what you want.

Good luck to you!
   
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Re: Arachnids and Reptiles? - August 8th 2012, 02:22 PM

Thank you for your advice. I actually have a couple of questions though, one (and this may sound stupid) but a vet that works with reptiles.....would they have to perform surgery on them and possibly put them to sleep? I'm extremely squeamish with any sort of blood and can't stand putting animals to sleep which is why I am asking. I'm the sort of person that loves to train them and take care of them but can't stand the medical field so its possible that this could end up not being the career path for me.
   
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Re: Arachnids and Reptiles? - August 9th 2012, 03:36 AM

It's a safe bet that you'll be performing surgery and putting amphibians and reptiles to sleep every so often in your vet career. It holds true in all medical careers, not just herpetology.

You could try going into the research field. How these amphibians and reptiles behave and interact with one another, what they do on a daily basis, and examining their physical and mental traits are some of the things that fall under the name of research.

Teaching isn't a bad profession either. From what I've been reading, a lot of herpetologists and ecologists end up becoming professors in colleges. Of course, this would require a really strong academic background. A Bachelor's degree alone probably wouldn't cut it. These days, colleges and universities require potential teachers to have Master's degrees, if they don't have Doctorate degrees.

The last option would be joining a zoo or a wildlife sanctuary. You probably won't get paid as much as a researcher or teacher, but you'll still get to mingle with your reptile friends.
   
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Re: Arachnids and Reptiles? - August 9th 2012, 04:57 AM

Alright well as you know i'm also a crazy reptile person probably even more so then you, and i have done insane amounts of research on job fields. truthfully a zoo is probably one of the last places you want to work, you are not encouraged to mess witht he animals, you don't make much money at all, averaging $30k / year, and the jobs are very very rare. Herpetology is another thing i have looked into and it is a very very rare field with only around 15 schools in the united states having it as a major and normally these are doctorates requiring a masters in biology already. breeding is something that can be done, but requires a lot of start up money. you can also own pet stores which again requires start up money. i am looking into both those and combining them, you can do some research realated fields but there honestly isn't too many dealing with reptiles. venom milkers are rare, not paid too great, and constantly put there life in danger. i don't know many jobs realated to arachnids though.



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Re: Arachnids and Reptiles? - August 9th 2012, 05:30 AM

I've done research on various organisms and given several research lectures but only a tiny amount involved reptiles and arachnids. The main reasons are such research needs a lot more funding due to the necessary storage facilities, size of the lab, purchasing specimens (unless another department is kind enough to provide), longer time for breeding compared to bacteria, mice and flies, and they're a lot more dangerous. For me, the only time I ever used reptiles was for a research lecture regarding physiological effects of certain toxins on the human body and the resulting pharmaceutical revolutions. Depending on the experiment, you'll be required to perform dissections or perform certain surgeries. I sort of doubt you'll have to do a lot of this though because the specimens would be hard to come by (not always) and expensive.

Arachnids may be more widely used in other fields, such as physics and robotics. Mainly, the hydraulic mechanisms in their legs provide them with an unusually high amount of crushing strength and overall strength for their body size. I'm not sure how much such a field would value biology as opposed to physics though, it's something to look into if you're interested.

A very large field you could go into would be toxicology, pharmacology, physiology, etc... . One of the great things about these areas is you don't need to do solely research, which honestly can be brutal. For toxicology and physiology of the toxins, there are many private and government areas that would hire. Again, I'm not sure how interested you are in these areas but I can provide a bit of insight.


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