Dr. Kenneth Krysko: Snake Scientist

Bio pic small
  • Name Dr. Kenneth Krysko

  • Education PhD. Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, M.S. Biological Sciences, Florida International University; B.S. Biological Sciences, Florida State University
  • Target Audience Middle School

What lurks in the sewers of New York City? Rats, sure...but, alligators? Dr. Krysko, Herpetologist was asked just that recently on an episode of MonsterQuest. When he's not helping with NYC's alligator problem, Dr. Krysko teaches herpetology;and invasion ecology courses at the University of Florida, and manages the amphibian and reptile collection at the Florida Museum of Natural History, which now includes the largest python ever caught in the Everglades. Read more to find out what makes herpetology such a cool job!

What is your job?

I am a herpetologist, so I do research and teaching about amphibians and reptiles.

Why did you choose this career?

I have always had a passion for amphibians and reptiles

Explain what an average day at work is like for you.

No two days are exactly the same, you never know what will come through the door and it's very exciting at times. One day it can be a common lizard, another day it can be a large rattlesnake, other days it's just another student asking for help on a project.

What do you like best about your job?

The freedom it affords me and I get to travel to exotic places.

When you were a kid, did you like science, engineering and/or math?

I always excelled in science and math. I loved any class that dealt with animals.

Was there a moment when you knew that you wanted to become a scientist?

It was in high-school when I learned people actually got paid to do such things.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming a scientist?

Staying in school my entire life.

Was there a person who inspired or convinced you to get involved in yourimage field?  

Dr. Roy Crabtree, who is a fish biologist. I was very passionate about game fish such as tarpon and Dr. Crabtree contacted me about taking him to some of my secret fishing spots for his research on juvenile tarpon. That's when I first learned there were jobs for people who didn't want to sit behind a desk all day - for me that would be miserable.

Which courses would you recommend to incoming high school students?

All science and math courses are helpful if you're pursuing herpetology. 

Do you have any suggestions for how kids in middle school can gain real world experience in your field?

Assist a scientist to gain experience and have as much fun as possible.

Are there exciting things happening in your field that could involve kids who will enter the field in 10-15 years?

Always! Scientists are always making new discoveries. Recently, we collected the largest python to ever be caught in the wild.

He wasn't kidding, check out the video below!   - STEM Team

The Bite on Snakes:

  • All snakes are carnivorous and a benefit to humans. 
  • In Florida, where Dr. Krysko works, there are 6 types of venomous snakes, out of 50 native species.
  • The only acceptable treatment for venomous snakebite, involves the use of antivenin. So if you or someone else is bitten by a venomous snake, seek immediate medical attention.

(adapted from flmnh.com)

Jungle Jargon:

Amphibian - a cold-blooded vertebrate animal; frog, toads
Antivenin - product used in the treatment of poisonous bites or stings
Carnivorous - meat-eating, ability to digest meat
- the branch of zoology concerned with reptiles and amphibians
Reptile - a cold-blooded vertebrate animal; snakes, crocodiles
Tarpon - a large tropical marine fish
Venomous - poisonous

(adapted from dictionary.com)


Related Cool Jobs