“I didn’t annoy them enough and they kept me around.”
Position: Reptile Department
Help with the daily care of all animals, feed and clean up and monitor them behind the scenes. He also does some snake and alligator shows. Additionally he has a focus on amphibians. He loves the reward and the longevity of life and success around breeding different frogs.
Ryan grew up dreaming he would one day work at Reptile Gardens doing snake and gator shows. As he enjoyed Reptile Garden shows as a child, Ryan would tell his parents, “One day that will be me”. At 19 he applied and started in maintenance. He finally moved into the Reptile Department. When asked to do snake and gator shows he initially turned it down out of his fear of public speaking. He then left for college, coming back the following summer no longer terrified of public speaking. When asked to put on the snake and gator shows this time he said yes and has continued ever since.
Ryan spent his summers working at Reptile Gardens while attending college. After graduating at USD with his finance degree he spent the following summer working for Reptile Gardens and was then asked to stay on full time. He likes to say that he didn’t annoy the Reptile Gardens team enough, so they let him stay around.
Favorite Reptile Gardens animal:
The Lace Monitor also known as the Tree Goanna. They are the fifth largest lizard in the world, and are considered to be one of the more intelligent reptiles. The Lace Monitors love to sit and observe your every move. In return, Ryan watches the Lace Monitor, wondering what he must be thinking.
Things to know about Ryan:
- He loves kayaking and took his kayak to 7 different lakes in 7 days in the summer of 2022.
- He owns 5 snakes, 4 turtles and a half dozen aquariums and is proud to own two snakes Reptile Gardens doesn’t have - a Corn Snake and an albino King Snake.
- He absolutely loves his job!