Top 5 Powerful Careers Working With Large Lizards

Large Lizards Article


The world of herpetology, the study of reptiles and amphibians, has always been a fascinating realm for those who crave adventure and a deep connection with the wild. Among the myriad of scaly wonders, large lizards stand out as majestic creatures, capturing the imagination of enthusiasts and professionals alike. Working with these remarkable reptiles opens doors to a plethora of exciting career opportunities. In this article, we delve into the benefits, conservation efforts, and the pros and cons of working with large lizards. We will also explore the top five careers in this field, providing insight into how high school children can embark on a journey to make a mark in the world of herpetology.

Working with Reptiles

Some of the largest lizard species

Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis):

The Komodo dragon, native to the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang, is the largest living lizard species. Adult Komodo dragons can reach lengths of up to 10 feet (3 meters) and weigh around 150 pounds (70 kilograms). They are known for their impressive size, powerful build, and predatory behavior.

Asian Water Monitor (Varanus salvator):

The Asian water monitor, found in South and Southeast Asia, is another large lizard species. Adults can reach lengths of up to 9.8 feet (3 meters) and are known for their aquatic habits. They are powerful swimmers and are found in a variety of habitats, including rivers, mangrove swamps, and coastal areas.

Nile Monitor (Varanus niloticus):

Native to Africa, the Nile monitor is a large lizard species that can reach lengths of up to 7.9 feet (2.4 meters). These monitors are often found near water sources such as rivers, lakes, and swamps. They are excellent climbers and swimmers, with a varied diet that includes small mammals, birds, and eggs.

Crocodile Monitor (Varanus salvadorii):

The crocodile monitor, native to New Guinea, is one of the longest lizard species. Adults can reach lengths of up to 13 feet (4 meters) or more. They are known for their long, slender bodies and prehensile tails. Crocodile monitors primarily inhabit tropical rainforests and are adept climbers.

Perentie (Varanus giganteus):

The Perentie is the largest monitor lizard native to Australia. Adult Perenties can reach lengths of up to 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) and are well-adapted to the arid regions of central Australia. They have a distinctive patterned appearance, with yellow and black markings.

Benefits of working with Lizards + the conservation Pros and Cons:


Working with large lizards offers a myriad of benefits for those passionate about reptiles and the natural world. One of the most significant advantages is the opportunity to contribute to conservation efforts. Large lizards, such as Komodo dragons and monitor lizards, are often endangered due to habitat loss, poaching, and climate change. Professionals in this field play a crucial role in preserving these species by studying their behavior, reproduction, and implementing conservation strategies.

Furthermore, a career with large lizards provides a unique chance to travel to diverse ecosystems. Whether it’s monitoring the Nile monitor lizards in the wetlands of Africa or studying the iconic Komodo dragons in Indonesia, professionals in this field often find themselves immersed in exotic locales. This hands-on experience not only enriches their understanding of the animals but also contributes to the global pool of knowledge on reptilian behavior and ecology.

Conservation Pros and Cons:

Despite the noble intentions of conservation efforts, working with large lizards comes with its set of challenges. The primary concern lies in the precarious state of these species, as many large lizards face the threat of extinction. This reality can be emotionally taxing for individuals dedicated to their preservation.

Additionally, the physical risks associated with handling large lizards cannot be understated. Despite their seemingly sluggish appearance, many large lizards possess remarkable strength and agility, making handling them a potentially dangerous endeavor. Professionals need to be well-trained and equipped to minimize risks both for themselves and the animals.

Top 5 careers working with large lizards

1. Reptile Breeder

A person who breeds carefully selected reptiles (snakes, lizards, geckos, and iguanas) of the same species to reproduce offspring with the same qualities and characteristics.

Reptile breeders generally breed specific species for either the pet trade or conservation.

The keeping of live reptiles as a hobby or to sell for income is called herpetoculture.

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How to become a Reptile Breeder

There are no minimum requirements to become a reptile breeder, although a high school certificate or diploma would be beneficial to prepare you to deal with setting up a business, dealing with costs, and basic marketing techniques.

Study Focus

It is important that you learn as much as you possibly can about your chosen species before you think about opening your breeding business. Short courses in reptile behaviour, health, business setup, and marketing are recommended.

Career Name – Reptile Breeder
Category – Business / Wildlife Conservation / Zoos, Aquariums, Theme Parks and Museums
Skills Required – Life skills 45% – Career skills 55%
Basic School Subjects – Biology, Language, Business Studies
Required Minimum Education – High School Certificate
Species Worked With – Reptiles
Kind of Interaction with Animals – Direct

Helpful Links

Career Profiles:

2. Herpetologist

Herpetologists specialise in the study of reptiles and amphibians. Those focusing on large lizards play a pivotal role in understanding their behaviour, ecology, and conservation needs. Herpetologists often conduct field research, working in natural habitats to observe and document the habits of these magnificent creatures. Additionally, they may work in zoos, wildlife reserves, or research institutions, contributing to conservation breeding programmes and public education.

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How to become a Herpetologist

Generally, herpetologists must have at least a bachelor’s degree for an entry-level job.

More scientific jobs will require a minimum of a master’s degree.

Study Focus:

Study towards subjects such as biology, animal behavior, animal science, or zoology. Further focus on herpetology subjects will be required.

Short Courses:

Much of the practical things you will do need to be learned through the completion of short courses, such as snake wrangling, first aid, etc.

Career Name – Herpetologist
Category – Business / Marine Conservation / Wildlife Conservation / Scientists /Zoos, Aquariums, Museums and Theme Parks
Skills Required – Life skills 40% – Career skills 60%
Basic School Subjects – Biology, Science, Maths
Required Basic Education – Bachelor’s Degree
Species Worked With – Reptiles and Amphibians
Kind of Interaction with Animals – Direct

Helpful Links

Career Profiles:

3. Wildlife Biologist

Wildlife biologists who specialise in large lizards focus on the broader aspects of their ecology and behaviour within ecosystems. They may be involved in population studies, habitat assessments, and developing management plans for the conservation of large lizard species. Wildlife biologists often collaborate with government agencies, non-profit organisations, and research institutions to implement conservation initiatives.

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How to become a Wildlife Biologist

The minimum required qualification is a bachelor’s degree.

Those who want to specialise in specific animals study further for a Master’s degree.

Subject focus:

The most important subject to focus on will be biology, microbiology, zoology, or ecology.

Short Courses:

It is important to try to complete as many short courses as possible. You might be allowed to do some of them while still in school.

Career Name – Wildlife Biologist
Category – Wildlife Conservation / Specialist / Zoos, Aquariums, Museums and Theme Parks
Skills Required – Life skills 40% – Career skills 60%
Basic School Subjects – Biology, Science, Chemistry
Minimum Required Education – Bachelor’s Degree
Species Worked With – Wildlife
Kind of Interaction with Animals – Direct

Helpful Links

Career Profiles:

4. Zookeeper

Working in a zoo or reptile breeding facility allows individuals to care for and manage captive populations of large lizards. Zookeepers ensure the well-being of the animals by providing proper nutrition, veterinary care, and suitable habitats. Herpetoculturists specialise in breeding and raising reptiles in captivity, contributing to genetic diversity and the potential reintroduction of species into the wild.

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How to become a Animal Keeper

There are animal organisations that advertise for assistant or junior animal keepers, where you only need a high school certificate, diploma, or GCSE equivalent with some experience working with animals (mostly wildlife), but the animal keeper industry is becoming more competitive. This means that most available positions will have a minimum requirement of a recognised college diploma or a bachelor’s degree (graduate degree), majoring in zoology or animal science. Degrees focusing on biology, ecology, or conservation science will also help.

A bachelor’s degree in zoology, biology, or a closely related field can provide a solid foundation for a career in animal care and management. It covers the scientific principles necessary for understanding and working with animals.

Career Title – Animal Keeper (Zookeeper)
Category – Animal Care / Marine Conservation / Wildlife Conservation / Zoos, Aquariums, Museums and Amusement Parks
Skills Required – Life skills 35% – Career skills 65%
Basic School Subjects – STEM, Language, Physical Education
Minimum Required Education – College Diploma
Species Worked With – Critters, Wildlife
Kind of Interaction with Animals – Direct

Helpful Links

Career Profiles:

5. Conservation Officer

Conservation officers dedicated to large lizards focus on enforcing laws and regulations aimed at protecting these species and their habitats. They may work for government agencies, non-profit organisations, or wildlife reserves, ensuring compliance with conservation policies and addressing illegal activities such as poaching and habitat destruction.

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How to become a Conservation Officer

​To become a conservation officer, some countries still prefer a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. But for most entry-level positions, they require an associate’s degree (college diploma). For more specialised positions, a bachelor’s degree might be required.

Study Focus:

Some study areas, such as biology, geology, wildlife sciences, ecology, criminal justice or police sciences

Short Courses:

They will also, when necessary, complete available short courses to further their knowledge.

Career Name – Conservation Officer
Category – Law & enforcement, Marine Conservation, Wildlife Conservation
Skills Required – Life skills 50% – Career skills 50%
Basic School Subjects – Biology, Physical Education, Language
Minimum Required Education – High School Certificate / Bachelor’s Degree
Species Worked With – Wildlife
Kind of Interaction with Animals – Direct

Helpful Links

Career Profiles:

Steps high school students can take to enter a career in working with large lizards

Focus on Science and Biology Courses:

High school students aspiring to work with large lizards should concentrate on science and biology courses. Building a strong foundation in these subjects lays the groundwork for understanding the intricate biological systems and behaviors of reptiles.

Participate in Extracurricular Activities:

Joining science clubs, participating in nature camps, and engaging in extracurricular activities related to wildlife and conservation provide hands-on experiences. These activities not only enhance knowledge but also demonstrate a genuine passion for the field.

Seek Internship Opportunities:

Look for internship opportunities at local zoos, nature reserves, or research institutions. Internships offer valuable exposure to the day-to-day responsibilities of professionals working with large lizards, helping high school students make informed career decisions.

Build Networking Connections:

Attend conferences, workshops, and events related to herpetology and conservation. Networking with professionals in the field can open doors to mentorship, internships, and valuable insights into the industry.

Pursue Higher Education:

A solid academic foundation is crucial for pursuing a career in working with large lizards. High school students should aim for a bachelor’s degree in biology, zoology, or a related field. Some careers may require advanced degrees, so considering graduate studies is also advisable.


Embarking on a career working with large lizards is a thrilling journey that combines a passion for wildlife with a commitment to conservation. The benefits of contributing to the preservation of these magnificent creatures far outweigh the challenges. Whether it’s studying their behaviour in the wild, caring for them in captivity, or enforcing conservation laws, professionals in this field play a vital role in ensuring the survival of large lizard species for generations to come. For high school students with a passion for reptiles, the path to a rewarding career in herpetology awaits, offering a chance to make a lasting impact on the future of our planet’s biodiversity.

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