Work Placement

At the Armadale Reptile Centre

The Armadale Reptile Centre is part of the animal care industry, caring for animals of many species and nursing injured animals which have been brought into the centre back to health for release.

Work Role

Every morning the stables; horses, ponies and donkeys, must be raked out, ridding each stable of droppings and old food using a metal scooper to sieve out the remaining sand. Using the metal rake, the sand in these stables may need levelling out as the animals like to kick the sand around.

After cleaning the stables to a high standard, the four water buckets need scrubbing and refilling, using the hose next to the stables.


Under the pavement in the picnic area, ants have decided it is a great place to live. Which means they remove sand from under the pavement, and push it on top of it instead. Using outdoor brooms, two or three workers will sweep up the ants unwanted sand, and use a dustpan and brush to pick up the sand, put it in a bucket and take it to the scarps wheelbarrow.


At 3 o'clock every day, afternoon cut up is organised and prepared by two or three workers. Using chopping boards and knives, each worker will prepare food suited to a certain animal. A variety of vegetables, fruits and meats are cut to sizes suited to each animal and put on plates or in bowls. Workers are careful not to contaminate an animals food by only preparing fruits and vegetables or only preparing meats, washing the chopping board and knife in between.


Once cut up is finished, workers distribute each plate and bowl to the correct enclosures, taking empty plates and bowls to the kitchen to wash. Some animals, like the turtles and tawny frog mouths, need to be hand fed, using long handled tweezers to put the food close to their mouth so they can grab a hold and eat it.


The make shift hospital on the premises holds a Goulds Monitor who was brought in after being found in a bad condition. He has healed well, and well behaved, but unfortunately he refuses to eat on his own. With the help of two other workers, one holding him and another pulling his bottom jaw down, I used plastic tweezers to pull his top jaw up and place a mouse inside his mouth. Thankfully he ate it without problems occurring.

Major Tasks I Enjoy

Caring for the sick and injured animals is a very patient task. These animals may be cranky because of their health, so special care is needed. Each animal is kept in a wooden box with a warm light caged at the back. These hotboxes need cleaning daily, usually a two person task. One worker will gently handle each animal, one at a time, while the other worker replaces the newspaper lining, and uses animal safe disinfectant to wipe over the box. These animals are then placed back into their hotbox, before receiving fresh water and food. Between handling each animal, hand sanitiser must be used to lower the risk of illness spreading.


Kiya is the handsome young dingo who lives on premises. He was raised in a household environment, treated as a domestic dog, before being handed over to the centre. He is given daily cuddles, and taken on daily walks. These walks are supervised by two workers, and take place around the centre, staying clear of the kangaroos.


Tawny frog mouths are nocturnal birds, often mistaken for owls, and fed twice daily; in the morning and afternoon. Carrying chickens cut into thirds on a large chopping board, I use long handled, metal tweezers to feed these birds; holding the chicken above their head for easy access and for easy digesting. Each bird will eat two pieces of chicken in the morning, and two pieces of chicken in the afternoon.

Positive & Negative Aspects

Spending each day surrounded by animals is quite interesting. Individual animals have their own personalities, often being cheeky in their unique ways. Each animal interacts with you, whether thats affection, play fighting or animal talk. No two days are ever the same.


Conversation flows easily with other workers, as similar interests are shared. Topics range from uni studies which workers are involved in, to funny moments with the animals. Each worker cares just as much as everyone else about the health and safety of all the animals kept on and off premises.


Weather conditions change, as everyone knows, but these conditions can be tough to work in. Outside all day in the heat takes its toll, being dehydrated and in the sun is hard. Wet weather makes chores such as raking 10x harder, making sand harder to sieve. As majority of tasks are outdoors, you can expect to be drenched in rain from head to toe.


Some would be surprised as to how much manual labour is involved with animal care. Maintenance of the centre needs to be kept to certain standards; shifting sand, hours of sweeping and wiping down display windows is done on a weekly basis. You will find muscles your body has forgotten about.

Skills Developed

Personally, I believe I have improved on many of my skills working at the centre. Communication is a large part in all work environments. I feel comfortable asking questions as to why things are done a certain way, or if I am unsure about something, I have no problem in asking for help and guidance.


In every work environment, problems are going to occur where thinking fast to solve it is a crucial skill. My personal problem solving skills have improved majorly, where I can work independently or as a team to solve any problems which may arise.

Pathway

I believe this could be a future for myself. Reason being the positive aspects make the negatives worth every minute. I enjoy working with and around animals, learning their individual characteristics and personalities, and maintaining their health and safety.

Lorenzo Cicerchia

"Relaxing Acoustic Improvisation" - Lorenzo Cicerchia(One Man + Loop Station) by Lorenzo Cicerchia