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Peters, Alan


Herpetological and invertebrate animal husbandry; Education program and volunteer development; Cephalopoda behavior and culture; Visitor experience.

Professional Biography

  • As the Curator of Herpetology, Alan Peters oversees animal programs, exhibits, education activities, and staff of the Reptile Discovery Center (RDC). His current and primary focus is identifying, managing, and encouraging the work of the Homo sapiens within the unit. RDC exhibits nearly 100 species with over 400 specimens, and participates in collaborations within the Smithsonian as well as with other zoos and universities.

    Alan began his inaugural work at the National Zoo with research on heat production in pythons. He continued with education program development in the Reptile House. Alan received a B.S. in Zoology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a M.A.T. in Museum Education at George Washington University in Washington, DC. He worked on a National Zoo team to develop, build, and open an innovative exhibit hall representing a broad array of invertebrate diversity. He served in the Invertebrate Exhibit almost 3 decades. His work gravitated to the corals, octopus, nautilus, and cuttlefish. In addition, Alan led a development team to exhibit a single biological process, pollination, adjoining the Invertebrate Exhibit.

    Alan has worked in many areas at the National Zoo. After undergraduate and graduate school work at the Reptile House, Alan worked as an Animal Keeper in the Reptile House, Bird House, and Invertebrate Exhibit. He became the Collection Manager, Assistant Curator, and later the Curator of Invertebrates. Alan has curated the Small Mammal House, hoof stock, Australia Exhibit, Lion/Tiger and Bear unit, American Trail, and Amazonia.

    Alan’s goal is to help develop and work with a team in an aquatic and terrestrial facility that inspires people to inquire about, discover, and respect the world we inhabit with the ultimate goal of developing critical thinking and wise use and conservation of our resources and entire ecosystems.