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Reptile handler and researcher

This placement provides reptile and exotic animal professional experience and accredited qualifications for students and volunteers. Take part in research, rehabilitation and education at a reptile centre. Supporting scientific research, providing veterinary care for reptiles and educational demonstrations with the public to reduce human wildlife conflict and promote reptile respect.

Students and volunteers will be expected to help with all aspects, studying and researching the reptiles themselves, animal health and veterinary work and supporting presentations with the centre’s visitors, even responding to emergency snake call outs to capture and move animals away from people’s homes.

A placement focused on all aspects of reptile behaviour, handling, health and outreach!

Become a volunteer
Volunteer information
Volunteers helping with reptile removal and capture in South Africa
Volunteer with puff adder as part of reptile training
Reptile handler and volunteer projects
Snake and reptile courses

Volunteering and working at this reptile centre in South Africa is designed for you to gain professional certifications and accreditations.

Gain skills and qualifications that allow you to capture, work with and provide medical health checks.


Your qualifications will be formed of theory, classroom based studying and practical experience and training.

Training volunteers in South Africa to handle snakes

​What will you be doing?

  • Qualification: Dangerous snake handling

  • Qualification: Snake first aid

  • Qualification: Snake capture and release

  • Qualification: Snake welfare and health

  • Gain practical skills handling a variety of species

  • Research reptiles at the centre and in field

Education and presentation work

The reptile centre you’ll be based at works extensively to educate the public.


Assist with running presentations, demonstrations, giving guided talks around the centre with visitors as well as external events at communities or businesses.


Display your knowledge and act as a bridge for reptile awareness!

​What will you be doing?

  • Give guided talks

  • Assist with handing animals during presentations

  • Help prepare equipment and animals for demonstrations

  • Educate yourself to educate others

presenting snakes to people
Snack removal during an emergency call out in South Africa

Emergency callouts and reptile rescues

South Africa is home to many venomous and dangerous snakes.


Join the team and serve the surrounding area as you act as first responders. When a dangerous or unknown snake is sighted help capture and remove these animals from homes or work spaces.

Make a real difference and prevent loss of life to human or animal.

What will you be doing?

  • Respond to emergency calls

  • Manage crowds and educate to promote safety

  • Reduce human wildlife conflict

  • Capture and release snakes to protect populations

Research and study
camera research with snakes

Snake and reptile research and study

There are many iconic animals in South Africa, snakes often get over looked regarding importance in ecosystems and behaviour generally. Research and study snakes through observing animals in captivity or survey and build understanding of environments and snake habitats.

Help broaden our understanding of how these animals operate and their role in ecosystems.

What will you be doing?

  • Research animals in captivity

  • Design surveys on wild populations and habitats

  • Record data to help build understanding of these animals

  • Write and present research papers to experts

Snake handling and behaviour

Learn the behaviour of different species of snake so you can approach, handle and work with these animals safely.

With a variety of species from slow and sluggish constrictors to fast and agile venomous snakes, master equipment and techniques, get hands on with animals and gain qualifications to prove your competency.

What you'll be doing

  • Understand behaviour and how to approach different species

  • Use equipment and techniques to become an effective snake wrangle

  • Work with species such as: pythons, adders, cobras and mambas

  • Understand snake venom to handle snakes safety

  • Build practical experience working with animals

  • Gain qualifications in snake handling

snouted cobra with volunteers watching
Handling and behaviour

Snake and exotic animal veterinary work

The reptile centre hosts a variety of different animals and species, from snakes to geckos, tortoises, lizards and even crocodiles… plus some non-reptiles too!

These animals need to be regularly monitored, take part in health checks, procedures, administer medicine and provide enrichment to ensure animals are health and happy.

What you'll be doing

  • Health check animals

  • Design and provide environmental enrichment

  • Help with medial procedures

  • Gain exotic veterinary experience

Snake health checking as part of veterinary volunteer work
Vet work
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