Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Universal’s Animal Actors at Universal Studios Hollywood

An animal trainer and wildlife consultant with experience in conservation and entertainment, Josh Ruffell most recently served as Assistant Curator at Australia Zoo in Beerwah, Australia. Earlier in his career, Josh Ruffell worked as an animal trainer at Universal Studios both in Hollywood and in Osaka, Japan.

Guests at Universal Studios can catch a glimpse of some of Hollywood’s most famous animals at the Animal Actors show. The show includes live re-enactments from the film “The Secret Life of Pets,” as well as exclusive film content from the Universal library.

The Animal Actors show itself includes a wide variety of animals, ranging from cats and dogs to birds and pigs. Guests have the opportunity to meet the animals near the show’s entrance, typically during non-show hours. Trainers at Universal’s Animal Actors often choose members of the audience to participate during the show, adding an element of surprise to the performance.

To learn more about the Animal Actors show at Universal Studios, visit the official website at

Friday, November 18, 2016

Survivor Continues to be Fan Favorite


As an animal trainer, wildlife consultant, and zoo curator, Josh Ruffell has more than 25 years of experience with exotic animals. Josh Ruffell has applied his knowledge of animals to work in the entertainment industry, for theme parks, zoos, television, and motion pictures.

Mr. Ruffell provided services such as safety surveillance, wildlife management, and wildlife education to the cast and crew members of the hit television show Survivor on location in China, Gabon, Panama, and Guatemala. Survivor, created by Charlie Parsons and produced by Mark Burnett, has been a reality television staple since 2000, the year it was introduced on CBS television.

Now in its 33rd season, Survivor features up to 20 contestants who are marooned in an isolated location for 39 days. The contestants are divided into two tribes and compete in a variety of challenges that grant them special privileges or immunity from elimination.

Every three days, contestants are required to participate in a tribal council in which team members vote to send fellow contestants home. The last remaining contestant in the competition receives a $1 million prize.

During its first season, Survivor experienced immediate success, drawing 52 million viewers to the season finale. With two runs per year, Survivor continues to be a fan favorite. In many ways, Survivor has shaped the reality television genre and has inspired many programs and competitions that feature a “reality” component.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Look at Ball Pythons

An animal enthusiast, Josh Ruffell has more than 25 years of experience with exotic animals. Josh Ruffell’s deep appreciation for animals began when he was a child and learned to care for his first pet snake, a ball python. Later, Mr. Ruffell volunteered at a variety of animal care facilities and eventually became an animal trainer, wildlife consultant, and zoo curator.

Experts consider the ball python to be an ideal pet for beginning snake owners. They are a small python species and are generally known to be docile and easy to handle. These characteristics make them the most popular python around the world.

Native to central and western Africa, ball pythons come in a wide variety of colors and patterns and live an average of 20 to 30 years. Adult females can grow to a length of 3 to 5 feet, while males can reach 2 to 3 feet. Experts recommend purchasing a snake that has been bred in captivity.

Pet ball pythons typically eat every one to two weeks. A good rule of thumb is to feed a python mice or rats that are no bigger than the largest circumference of the snake.

The ball python's enclosure should be kept at 80 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. A basking spot with a maintained temperature of 88-90 degrees should also be provided within the habitat. Ball pythons like to feel safe and secure, so it is important for owners to provide their pets with hide boxes. There are a number of high quality reptile enclosures available on the market to safely and securely house juvenile to adult animals.

Monday, August 29, 2016

America’s Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College


Over the course of his career in the training and management of native and exotic wildlife, Josh Ruffell has lived in many different parts of the world. A graduate of the Exotic Animal Training & Management (EATM) Program at Moorpark College in Moorpark, California, Josh Ruffell specialized in exotic animal training and wildlife education.

Moorpark College is home to the world-renowned America’s Teaching Zoo, which originated in 1974 when the college offered the EATM Program as a major. The program began with one wolf named Kiska, but by 1990, the EATM Compound relocated to its present site on five acres overlooking the Moorpark College campus.

Through the years, the animal population has grown due to donations and breeding loans from research centers and major zoos. Enclosures are added as necessary to accommodate new animals. The range of species includes an African Lioness, Spotted Hyena, Mountain Lions, Bengal Tiger, a variety of primates and a host of other exotic and endangered animals.

Students in the EATM Program are required to spend time at America’s Teaching Zoo on most days, including weekends when the zoo is open to the general public, to help with the animals. Under close supervision, the students handle the majority of the feeding and care requirements of the approximately 200 animals at America’s Teaching Zoo.