Josh Lucas

Josh Lucas

Senior Animal Caretaker, Reptile & Amphibian Department


Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden

Oklahoma City, OK USA


I’m constantly setting new goals for myself. I feel like as long as you are in a state of either working towards bettering yourself or bettering yourself on some level, you are a success.

Videos

By Roadtrip Nation

Josh Lucas

Highlight
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Josh Lucas HighlightInterview Highlight
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InterviewThe Interview
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Day In The Life Of A Senior Animal CaretakerWeb Exclusive
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Experience Needed To Work As A ZookeeperWeb Exclusive
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How We Can All Contribute to ConservationWeb Exclusive
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Advice For People Interested In ZookeepingWeb Exclusive
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My Favorite AchievementWeb Exclusive
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Dealing With Stress As A ZookeeperWeb Exclusive
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My Career PathInterview Excerpt
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The Best Part Of My JobInterview Excerpt
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My Purpose In Life Is Working With Reptiles And AmphibiansInterview Excerpt
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This Job is About Giving Back & ConservationInterview Excerpt

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
He has always had a lifelong fascination with reptiles and amphibians.
Attended the University of Oklahoma where he received his degree in zoology.
While he was in college, he volunteered at the Oklahoma City Zoo in order to gain experience in the field—says the best way to get into zookeeping is to volunteer.
After graduating, he spent a lot of time venturing throughout South America studying poison dart frogs.
Says that all of this traveling and studying sparked his passions for research, conservation, and protecting endangered species.
After coming back to the U.S., he wanted to find a job where he could work hands-on with the animals he was passionate about and continue to stay involved in conservation efforts.
He is now the Senior Animal Caretaker for all of the reptiles and amphibians at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
He is also heavily involved with the conservation organization Jatun Sacha in Ecuador where he has started his own amphibian conservation projects focused on understanding their population decline.

Education

High School
Bachelor
Zoology/Animal Biology
University of Oklahoma Norman Campus

Career

Senior Animal Caretaker, Reptile & Amphibian Department

I care for and maintain a diverse collection of reptiles and amphibians at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Environment & Nature
Science
Accomplishing Goals

Day to Day

My areas of primary care include reptiles and amphibians. In one day at the zoo, I’ll generally care for frogs as tiny as your thumbnail and giant tortoises that weigh upwards of 450lbs. Among many other things, I have to know and understand the natural history, native habitat, dietary and enrichment needs of the animals I care for. We have to understand the natural behaviors and patterns of our animals to better provide them with everything they need to live happy and healthy lives.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

You need a technical and mechanical skill-set, this can include habitat construction and building enrichment items. The other set of skills is more of an art than it is a science. Animal care and husbandry involves being able to understand the physical, environmental, and sometimes emotional needs of an animal. It takes a great deal of time and it's something that I am still learning on a day to day basis. It takes a lot of time, patience and understanding to hone one's skills in this area.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

While the biology aspect of college was a great foundation, unfortunately very few if any college courses teach you how to be a zookeeper. Despite this, most zoological institutions require an undergraduate degree. Volunteering at an AZA accredited Zoo or professional animal care facility is the absolute best way to get started on this career path.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
Zoology/Animal Biology

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Family:

"Why don't you just be a veterinarian? They make more money."

Challenges I Overcame

Work Stress