As a freelance animal trainer and consultant in the Los Angeles area, Josh Ruffell works with many different types of animals. The ones Josh Ruffell specializes in, however, are reptiles, including venomous snakes. He has handled reptiles on film projects such as G.I. Joe and Failure to Launch.
The longest and one of the most intelligent venomous snakes in the world, the king cobra earns much of its notoriety from its size and signature hood. The snake has bones and muscles just behind the head which can fan out when it feels threatened, allowing it to display radically increased lateral size to a predator, potentially discouraging it from attacking. The hood deployment often comes with a loud hiss, further warning would-be predators.
King cobras are also known for territoriality and protectiveness, doing much more than the average snake to protect their future young. The female shifts leaves on the ground to build a nest, then after laying the eggs, covers them with more debris. By lying on top or nearby the nest until they hatch, the king cobra ensures its young are able to develop in their eggs without being taken by opportunistic predators.
Jules Sylvester’s Reptile Rentals Inc
Currently serving as a freelance animal trainer and consultant in Los Angeles, California, Josh Ruffell works with a variety of companies in the television and movie industry. Josh Ruffell often works as an animal trainer for Jules Sylvester’s Reptile Rentals Inc. in Thousand Oaks, California, where he works with reptiles and other animals for numerous Hollywood production companies.
Started in 1980, Jules Sylvester’s Reptile Rentals Inc. was created to provide experienced animal trainers to work with animals, in particular reptiles, being used in the movie and television industry. With an incident-free safety record for more than 30 years, Reptile Rentals is highly regarded by the animal care organization the American Humane Association.
Jules Sylvester’s Reptile Rentals has been used in many well-known movie productions, such as Lemony Snicket, Arachnophobia, and Snakes on a Plane. Animal Trainers from the company have also served as snake catchers on out-of-town movie and television sets where native rattlesnakes can potentially cause issues for production cast and crew.
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.