Animal Care and Training - Aquatic Mammal and Reptile Department

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s Aquatic Mammal and Reptile Department is responsible for the day to day care of Mote’s resident manatees, sea turtles, otters and crocodilians. Selected applicants will work directly with staff and assist in all aspects of the program, and will acquire hands on experience with diet preparation, water quality analysis, exhibit cleaning and maintenance, enrichment and basic animal husbandry skills. Interns will gain experience and knowledge in animal training using operant conditioning by utilizing positive reinforcement techniques. Behavioral research training is a major focus of our program; interns may have the opportunity to observe research sessions throughout their time with us.


  • Able to handle high levels of responsibility, demonstrate self-motivation, and be able to work independently
  • Strong communication skills, great time management, and be able to be diligent in a fast-paced environment
  • Must have a positive attitude and be able to work well in a team environment
  • Have good physical stamina, able to carry heavy items, climb, bend and stoop
  • Comfortable working in water to clean exhibits which would involve using a snorkel and submerging head under water
  • Comfortable handling animal waste matter and prey items such as frozen chicks, mice, fish, and raw meat

This is an unpaid internship. A commitment of 40 hours per week for a minimum of three months is required while preference will be given to interns that can stay upwards of six months. 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 recommended. Previous experience working with aquatic animals is beneficial but not necessary. 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 interns will not be feeding and/or training the otters on their own.