Michelle Franklin

Michelle and croc

Position: Research Assistant
Phone: 08 8984 9137
Fax: 08 8984 9139
Location: Tropical Ecology Research Facility, PO Box 441, Humpty Doo, NT Australia

Research Background

My interest in reptiles started as a kid, playing with plastic dinosaurs and digging up my parents’ driveway, claiming to find dinosaur bones. As I got older and started to realise that dinosaurs are gone, I moved on to the closest thing I could find… crocodiles. I soon realised that getting experience working with crocodiles as a 16-year-old school girl living in suburban Brisbane was about as easy as finding real dinosaur bones in my parents driveway.

I volunteered at lots of different zoos and wildlife parks throughout high school, and then started studying wildlife biology at the University of Queensland.

In first year I got the opportunity to volunteer for two weeks in a mark and re-capture study on freshwater crocodiles in the Northern Territory, then when I was invited back the following year for a freshwater crocodile nesting survey, I decided it was time to move to where the opportunities are. After 1 and a half years of full time study I switched to part time external, moved to Darwin and completed my degree in the evenings at home. Volunteering in the freshwater crocodile study lead on to volunteering at Grahame Webbs ‘Crocodylus Park’ where I was soon given a full time job raising hawksbill sea-turtles and saltwater crocodiles and also working in the zoo section of the park and conducting crocodile tours.

hawksbill turtle green turtle

After about 3 years when the sea turtle project was starting to wrap up, I found I was spending most of my time as a tour guide, or cleaning crocodile pens, so I decided it was time for a change of scenery. I went to work at the Territory Wildlife Park for about 8 months, which was a new experience for me as is was a purely zoo keeping job with no research involved. I found it to be thoroughly enjoyable work, and very rewarding, but I soon became bored working with mammals.

bat marmosets wallaby

Luckily for me Grant Husband, the head reptile keeper at the wildlife park, put me in contact with Rick who was looking for a new RA living near to Fogg Dam. I’ve been working here ever since and couldn’t be happier. I get to do all the rewarding zoo keeper type jobs, except now its with snakes, lizards and frogs, and I also get to be involved in all sorts of research which keeps me interested. A perfect job.