Josh Ruffell graduated the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College in 1999. Since then, Josh Ruffell has served as an exotic animal trainer and manager in the film and television industry and as a curator and assistant curator at Australia Zoo, where his responsibilities included overseeing reptiles.
Australia Zoo houses and displays a number of reptile species, such as:
– Boas and pythons: The zoo is home to a variety of nonvenomous snakes, including the reticulated python, the boa constrictor, and the black-headed python. These animals constrict their prey and eat primarily birds and mammals although the black-headed python is also known for eating other reptiles. One of the zoo’s residents, the reticulated python, can grow to more than 26 feet in length.
– Crocodiles and alligators. Visitors to the zoo can observe two species of crocodile — freshwater and saltwater — and also American alligators. Continuing the efforts of television personality and crocodile expert Steve Irwin, the zoo also engages in crocodile conservation. Annual research is carried out at the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in Queensland in partnership with the University of Queensland.
– Turtles and tortoises: The zoo celebrates an ancient reptile that is known from fossil discoveries to have lived 200 million years ago. The zoo is home to four Aldabran tortoises, which when fully grown can weigh as much as 650 pounds. Visitors can also see an alligator snapping turtle and various other freshwater turtle species.
An exotic animal trainer with 20 years of experience, Josh Ruffell formerly served as Assistant Curator at Australia Zoo. Prior to his time in Australia, Josh Ruffell worked at Universal Studios in Japan and California as an animal trainer with the Animal Actors Stage.
In 2001, the long running Animal Actors Stage at Universal Studios Hollywood was re-themed as Animal Planet Live and was promoted as a real-life counterpart to the popular television channel Animal Planet. Renamed Hollywood Animal Actors in 2006 (and now Universal’s Animal Actors), the show has displayed a wide array of animals, including a crane, capuchin monkey, pigs, dogs, cats, rats and a raccoon.
Located on the Upper Lot of Universal Studios Hollywood, Animal Actors features a host of trained animals showing off their skills with the help of their knowledgeable trainers to an audience that is encouraged to participate. As part of the show, the animals reenact scenes from popular animal-centric movies.