Senior Herpetology Keeper
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
Year zoo career began:
Amie Mercado is a Senior Herpetology Keeper at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens where she cares for the reptiles in the zoo’s central and South American regions. She works with a variety of snakes, lizards, turtles, and amphibians, many of which live in mixed species exhibits. Amie works with bioactive enclosures as well, so she’s required to take care of many plant species. Many of the species she works with are in SSP programs, including Aruba Island rattlesnakes, Jamaican boa, coahuilan box turtle, and Utila spiny tailed iguanas. Amie also works with members of the Crocodilian Advisory Group to do genetic testing on crocodiles currently held at AZA institutions to identify West African and Nile Crocodiles.
Amie has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Northern Colorado, but she also spent two years studying at the University of Puerto Rico. She began working as an animal keeper with no specialty, but as she started to do keeper chats with guests, she heard many negative comments towards reptiles. Amie found herself looking to speak positively on behalf of the reptiles and began working with them more. She loves the puzzle of working with reptiles. Many reptiles can be quite charismatic, but in general reptiles don’t give indications of their needs. Amie enjoys thinking outside of the box to offer new solutions to potential issues, and she loves the herpetology community and its willingness to share information with each other to offer the absolutely best for every animal.
Amie loves working with crocodilians, as their strength and intelligence never cease to amaze her. She could talk about alligators all day! Amie is also the mother of two future conservationists. Watching her sons get excited about different animals and genuinely wanting to learn new ways to conserve is extremely rewarding.