What to Expect from ZMU


Welcome to Zoo Med University! In the world of reptile keeping, there is an endless amount of knowledge and learning to be done. At times, we know that this can become overwhelming – especially for beginners. The goal of Zoo Med University is to provide a base of information to help reptile keepers and store associates make the best, informed decisions in regards to caring for pet reptiles. This program is designed to flow from one unit to the next, so you will be required to complete units in order. This should help ensure that the most complete, pertinent information is shared without getting too redundant.

While there is plenty of “product driven” education available, ZMU aims to provide information that is driven by the needs of the animals and supported by products. At Zoo Med Labs, we pride ourselves on being a company made up of hobbyists and we strive to make the products that will help us take the best care of our pets. In this course, we will introduce Zoo Med as a company and what makes us the best option for reptile care supplies.

Course Content

This program is set up to include Training Courses which contain Modules that are broken down into Units.

The Courses you will need to complete to earn your “Certified Associate” certificate are:

  • Intro to Reptile Care
  • Housing
  • Lighting
  • Heating
  • Substrates
  • Humidity
  • Nutrition

Throughout the courses, you will be asked to take quizzes to assess your building reptile knowledge.

Feel free to take as much time as needed to complete each unit, module, and course.

Upon completion of each course, you will gain access to the next course in the curriculum.


Why Zoo Med University?

In addition to providing you with a base of information for providing the best reptile care, selling reptile care products, and providing accurate, informed advice, we would like to thank you for your time and completion of the Zoo Med University Training Courses.

Upon completion of these courses, ZMU Graduates will receive:

  • A personalized certificate
  • ZMU Graduate Pin
  • Loads of Zoo Med Gear
  • Access to future ZMU learning opportunities

As supplemental courses become available, you will be notified via email – so be sure to keep your e-mail address up to date and add us to your address book.

Students will earn additional incentives upon completion of supplemental courses.


Who is Zoo Med

ZOO MED TODAY – 40 years in the making

Zoo Med is a story of passion and discovery. It all started with a young Gary Bagnall exploring the creek near his home in northern California and the delight he found in the bustling local habitat of frogs and toads. The Outdoors called to him and there he found peace and happiness. Discovering creatures and studying their habitats sparked a flame in him that has yet to die out and one that he has been passionate about sharing with others

The wonder he discovered from his days in the creek, the skills he gathered from working at pet and fish shops in his youth, and the sense of community he found in breeding and trading reptiles with others from around the world all collaborated in Gary’s vision that became Zoo Med Laboratories; the pinnacle in innovative pet care for reptiles and exotic pets for pet owners and conservationists worldwide.

When asked about the early development of Zoo Med, he said “Never in a million years would I have imagined myself here or that this is what I would be doing. I think I am good at putting good people together and allowing them to create magic.” The team that makes up Zoo Med shares Gary’s passion for sharing and discovering the majesty of these often overlooked specimens. We love our animals and they are, of course, the center of what we do, but it’s the team that brings it all together and makes Gary’s, and our, dreams come true. With the creation and evolution of Zoo Med Laboratories, Gary’s story of discovery has now come full-circle, and Zoo Med has the unique opportunity to inspire the next generation of explorers.

Gary said, “To me, it has never been about the destination, but the journey. I have gotten to do amazing things, and each one led to the next. And now, here I am!” So where does the journey lead from here?  Inspiring young people to go outside, to bring a bit of nature inside, and to care for it.

In today’s world, not everyone has the opportunity to discover creatures or explore the outdoors. We hope that our philosophy of bringing a bit of nature inside will help bridge the disconnect from the natural world that can so easily happen when engulfed in technology and our otherwise busy lives.


Zoo Med Laboratories has been on the cutting edge of reptile husbandry and innovation for 40 years. In 1993, Zoo Med developed the first UVB lamp for reptiles, which changed the way all Zoos, herpetologists, and hobbyists keep reptiles in captivity. Zoo Med currently has over 30 patents and manufactures over 50% of its 1200 item product line at company headquarters in San Luis Obispo, California. Zoo Med supports many conservation organizations and regularly donates to over 100+ aquarium, reptile, and avian societies.

CROWNING ACHIEVEMENTS – #1 in Reptile Lighting:

With the invention of the first specialized UVB lamp for reptiles (the ReptiSun UVB310) in 1993, Zoo Med changed the way hobbyists kept reptiles in captivity forever. Before the ReptiSun, many species could not be successfully kept without shortened life expectancy. The ReptiSun has helped remedy this issue, and along with Zoo Med’s extended line of CFL, Mini CFL, T8, T5, Mercury Vapor, HID Metal Halide, and LED lighting that specializes to cover all parts of the UVA, UVB, and visible light spectrum, we can now help fine-tune your pet’s habitat to provide the most comfortable and healthy indoor living space.



Zoo Med has an extensive reptile-breeding program that includes approximately 500 turtles, 80 tortoises, 125 lizards, and 12 amphibians. Many difficult to breed species have been bred at the facilities including Spiny Hill Turtles, Pancake Tortoises, Central American Wood Turtles, Spotted Turtles, Savannah Sideneck Turtles, and Black Knob Sawback Turtles to name a few. Since 2009, we have successfully hatched over 1,500 animals from 47 species; many of them endangered!

Our animals are at the center of what we do and regularly participate in many aspects of Zoo Med Labs. They show up in our ads, catalogs, and product packaging, they sample our foods and new products and are constant sources of inspiration for many of our employees with their own pet living at their desk. Our Customer Service and Research and Development teams are also the main caretakers for the entire collection of animals we have, so we can provide advice based on firsthand experience. The animals are an essential part of our company – we wouldn’t be Zoo Med without them!


TURTLE NIRVANA – Zoo Med’s Turtle Breeding Greenhouse:

The greenhouse was developed as a way of creating more natural environments to house a collection of our turtles and tortoises. After 6 years of design and adjustments, the Turtle Nirvana Greenhouse has proven to be everything we could have hoped for – a natural environment suitable for keeping and breeding turtles, incubating eggs and hatching babies! Complete with a geothermal heating system, UVB transmitting glass panels, and thermostatically controlled vents, we are able to keep a wide variety of tropical species happy and healthy year-round. Over 30 species of turtle and tortoise currently live and thrive in the Greenhouse, with many of these groups breeding regularly. To date, several different species have hatched naturally in the Greenhouse habitats. Some of these species include Three Toe Box Turtles, Eastern Box Turtles, Black-Knobbed Sawback Turtles, Reeves Turtles, and Pink-Bellied Sideneck Turtles. Zoo Med animal staff is thrilled to know that our greenhouse has truly become a natural environment.



It has always been our goal to create the best and most natural homes we can for exotic pets. Understanding the needs of these unique animals has been the main driving force in our manufacturing standards, and how they are implemented in our products, for the last 40 years.

This ideology can be seen in not only what we make, but how we make it. From the moment the machines turn on to bag our substrates, build the glass terrariums, produce our foods and assemble the heaters, it is that pride and focus on animal care that is at the core of our business model. 50% of the Zoo Med product line is made at Zoo Med’s Headquarters in California, with another 25% of the products made in Europe, which includes 90% of the Reptile Lighting we offer around the world. In efforts to minimize environmental impact and increase efficiency, all glass terrarium manufacturing operations have been moved from overseas to Zoo Med’s headquarters in California. This change is the equivalent of taking 114 cars off the road for an entire year!



Over the years, Zoo Med has not only grown, but also adapted. We’ve become more than just a supplier of products for taking care of our your pet, but also a trusted source of knowledge and inspiration. That’s why we’ve developed Zoo Med Studios.

Since 2011, Zoo Med Studios has become the social hub for providing information, news, product and show updates, and how-to videos. Zoo Med Studios has become the prime avenue for reptile enthusiasts to connect to Zoo Med Laboratories in a fun and social environment.

With the emergence of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, social networking has allowed us the incredible opportunity to share our passion and connect with our fans and fellow hobbyists on a daily basis and provide insightful tips and tricks for keeping a variety of exotic reptile, aquarium fish, amphibian, and bird species.

Zoo Med Studios is dedicated to providing quality content and showing the world that we’re not just a pet product company, but pet keepers as well!