Animal Care, Training, and Research Internship
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s Animal Care, Training, and Research program is responsible for the day to day care of Mote’s resident manatees, sea turtles, and otters. This program allows for applicants to select an overall training option while still maintaining their second and third choice options for other Mote internships. Applicants should state whether they have preference or no preference working with one of the listed animal groups in their cover letter. Applicants will be placed in a primary program based off of interest and experience and will be given the opportunity to assist in other programs on an as needed basis. Selected applicants will work directly with staff and assist in all aspects of the program, and will acquire basic animal husbandry skills by utilizing positive reinforcement and operant conditioning techniques. Please see descriptions for individual animal training programs for more details on specific programs.
Individuals selected should be able to handle high levels of responsibility, demonstrate self-motivation, and be able to work independently. Individuals must also have strong communication skills, great time management, and be able to be diligent in a fast-paced environment. Individuals must be able to lift and carry up to 50 lbs, have good physical stamina, and should be able to climb, bend, and stoop. Individuals must also be comfortable handling animal waste matter and prey items such as frozen chicks, mice, fish, and raw meat.
A commitment of 40 hours per week for a minimum of three months is required. Occasional early morning and night hours may be required to meet animal care schedules, so it is important for participants to have reliable transportation to and from Mote.
Coursework in biology, zoology, psychology, ecology or animal behavior is required. Previous experience training animals and/or working with marine mammals is beneficial but not necessary. Current SCUBA certification and DAN insurance is encouraged. Computer skills are helpful, and a willingness to learn is a must!
*It is important to note that our resident otters are trained using protected contact and participants will not be feeding and/or training the otters on their own.