Ian Recchio, Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles
I have an overall love for nature, but if I had to choose a specific area of interest I would choose pitvipers as my favorite group of reptiles; the crocodilians are a close second!
My interest in herps was inspired by my father, who was a serious amateur herpetologist. Our family vacations were jumping in the jeep and driving to the desert to find stuff, and the first book I read cover to cover was Carl Kauffeld’s "Snakes: the Keeper and the Kept." I was hooked on snakes!
I really enjoy seeing animals in nature, and this facility will showcase species in as close to a natural environment as captivity can provide. I am most excited to provide thousands of people the opportunity to view such rare and unusual creatures, that most would never have the opportunity to see in person.
I am really interested in Australian herps because there are so many different species found there. There are a huge amount of monitor lizards and pythons from Australia that aren't found anywhere else in the world.
I have been interested in herps since I was a little kid running around catching lizards and frogs and keeping them as pets for many years. I have always been fascinated by the variety and unique characteristics of herps.
I can't wait to setup the multispecies exhibits. It will be really exciting to show people that snakes can live with other species and don't just want to eat everything. It also allows people to see how different species are found in the same habitat.
I just started working at the zoo at the end of November. It has been a dream come true for me. I grew up just 45 minutes from L.A, so I have been a fan of this Zoo since I was a little kid.
I have always been a snake specialist, particularly boas and pythons. However, the more time I spend working with all different types of reptiles the more I enjoy working with lizards and chelonians (turtles and tortoises). They respond in ways that snakes are not able to and it is easier to see their individual personality show through. Most recently I have particularly been intrigued with aquatic reptiles! It is hard to stay focused on one group of herps!
I would have to say that I can't wait to see people's reactions when they see the new exhibits and of course, the animals themselves!
People always want to see the reptiles, whether they love them or fear them! They just have to see the snakes! One of the things I like most about my job is interacting with the public and teaching them more about reptiles!
I have worked at the zoo for five years now! I was born and raised in Los Angeles!
I’ve had an interest in reptiles and amphibians ever since I was small. I had allergies to dogs and cats so reptiles were animals I could be around without any problems.
My grandparents had property up in the high desert so we’d go there all the time looking for reptiles. The hills outside Riverside and the Santa Ana river bottom are other places we’d go when we were kids to look for stuff. I loved frogs and toads and then expanded to lizards and snakes.
I've worked at the Zoo for 27 years, including working in our former reptile exhibit, and I'm really looking forward to this state-of-the-art habitat. There is so much more technology and opportunities for controlling environments specific to the needs of the particular species.
I am excited for the public to finally see what we have been doing behind the scenes for so many years! We have such a large number of species that are not common among other reptile collections and I think the public will really enjoy seeing our rare species.
Also, so many of our animals are both charismatic and beautiful, which will go a long way to helping plant the seed of the plight of reptile conservation in people's minds. When people are able to see the species in need and care about them, it can go a long way toward conservation efforts. The new LAIR highlights the natural beauty of the animals in naturalistic and open settings and I am sure people will be stunned to see how great a reptile house can be.
I enjoy working with all species of reptiles, but my areas of focus are with amphibians and lizards. Due to my nature I am particularly well suited for the smaller species that require meticulous care and attention to detail. I love the challenge of working with hatchlings, neonates, and unusual species with unique needs. No two species require the exact same conditions and I find it fascinating and rewarding being able to figure out what each species requires.
I could not be happier coming to work every day to see both the amazing animals I am fortunate to work with as well as my coworkers and friends.
I have been fascinated by all reptile and amphibians my entire life. I do not have one lone specific area of interest but I do have more of a specialty in rattlesnakes, Indigo snakes, and tortoises. I like turtles!
When I was a kid I grew up in the hills and would find snakes and turtles on a regular basis. This sparked my interest and led me to read books and publications on herps. I also became a member of my local Reptile and Amphibian Society and started taking regular trips into the field in search of these animals. It was like treasure hunting for me. I have been chasing my reptile and amphibian pots of gold ever since.
I am looking forward to displaying our animals in exhibits that are worthy of showing off their true beauty. I am also excited about our multi-species exhibits and realistic habitat mimicking of our animals native lands.
This is my eighth year as an LA Zoo employee and I have been lucky enough to work in the original reptile house with the old crew and transition into our new facility with or new reptile crew gaining valuable experience and knowledge from every one along the way.
Komodo Dragons have to be my favorite of all the reptiles but my main area of interest is the "I" in LAIR. Invertebrates are a big interest of mine. Spiders, scorpions, and centipedes fascinate me!
I have always been fascinated with the animals that often make others cringe! This probably stems from tormenting my little sisters (and subsequently eliminating their fears) with the gopher snakes and sharp-tailed snakes that I would find in my backyard as a child.
I am really looking forward to being able to share with the public all the wonderful animals and projects that we have been working with behind the scenes for the past several years. We have very beautiful and very rare animals that deserve the top-notch habitats that the LAIR provides.