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Welcome to the Dept. of Biological Sciences'

Critter Page

students with some of our animals

Students with Animals: Title shot
with: hairless rat, chinchilla, green iguana, water dragon, and hissing crockroach

Check out our brand new snakes that hatched less than one month ago!

Students in the Biological Sciences are exposed to a variety of experiences as part of their education. For convenience and ease of observation, many of the courses taught in our department include use of preserved, or "pickled," specimens. However, convenient or not, a preserved specimen can in no way replace the beauty and complexity of a living creature. For this reason, our department maintains a collection of live animals for observation by students.

Life for these animals has advantages and disadvantages. They have shelter, a ready supply of food and water, and no threat of predation. However, THEY ARE COMPLETELY DEPENDENT UPON HUMAN CARE AND THE QUALITY OF THEIR EXISTENCE IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE CARE THEY RECEIVE FROM US. Their home can either be a jail or a refuge. They may experience overcrowding or cramped quarters (imagine yourself sitting in an airplane seat indefinitely with no control over when you can leave). They may experience hunger or thirst. They may be exposed to disease. Any or all of these may happen if we do not ACTIVELY prevent it. Being more dexterous and "smarter", we have taken it upon ourselves to divorce these animals from their existence in the wild. Let us remember that the animals have given FIRST in allowing us to observe them on a regular basis. In return, they have a right to adequate food, water, shelter, and avoidance of disease conditions. All of our animals are "pets" in the sense that the only way they are used, in our department, is for observation and enrichment of more traditional teaching material.


Students (mostly, but not exclusively, pre-vet students) are given an opportunity to learn about the care of various invertebrates - from insects to crustaceans and mollusks, as well as vertebrates including snakes and other reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and fish.

If you are a pre-vet student, or taking a zoology course, you will be able to supplement what you are studying formally with observations of animal behavior and external morphology. You will have an opportunity to work with more exotic species. Beyond this, you will have a chance to contact other living beings in a non-verbal, very basic way. Practically speaking, you will have a special experience for the resume, whether you are headed for a career in medicine, animal health, laboratory sciences, field biology, or teaching.

Make the most of the experience. If you are interested in becoming an Animal Care Assistant visit here for more information, or contact Jana E. Shober, Sequoia 16C

Jana Shober with our Red-tailed boa constrictor


Your questions, comments and suggestions are welcome. E-mail Jana Shober

Web page created by: Jana Shober
Web page design by: Jason Ryan