55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
Regular Hours:


9:30 am – 5:00 pm


11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:


8:30 – 9:30 am


10:00 – 11:00 am

The Academy will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Planetarium will be closed Sep. 22, 23, 24

Brian Freiermuth

Brian is a Biologist for the Steinhart Aquarium.

Q & A

Briefly describe your job and your area of expertise. I take care of a lot of different animals including amphibians, reptiles, fish and terrestrial invertebrates.  I have worked with these animals in a variety of zoos and aquariums and I am the primary trainer for staff who will work with our venomous and dangerous reptiles.

What got you interested in becoming a Biologist? I have always been interested in amphibians and reptiles.  My first memory is of a box turtle that my Dad brought home for me.  I have been hooked on “herps” ever since.

What do you like most and least about your job? The thing I like the most about my job is the opportunity to work with animals that a lot of people only get to see at zoos and aquariums or on TV.  Amphibians and reptiles are especially rewarding if you are able to get them to reproduce, especially if no one else has ever done it.  Working here at the Academy is really great because we have a lot of great people on staff to learn from.  

What college did you go to and what degree did you receive? I got my degree in Earth Systems Science and Policy with a concentration in Watershed Management from California State University Monterey Bay.

What influenced your job choice and when? A lot of things have influenced where I worked and when.  With respect to the Academy I had been working as a field biologist/geomorphologist for several years and wanted to be have more time to spend with my wife.  I had heard about the new Academy project and always wanted to be a part of it.  When I saw the job posting it definitely came at the right time.  I was very excited to get back to my zoo and aquarium roots and getting to do it here was the perfect opportunity.

Do you have pets at home? What and how many? I don’t have any pets of my own but my wife has two cats that I suppose I could claim.

Advice for someone wanting to go into your field. Volunteer and get as much experience as you can.  This job isn’t for everyone so it makes sense to figure out if it really is what you want.  Never stop learning about the animals that you are interested in.  Get a degree related to the field; it is more necessary now than ever.  

More about Brian


Selected Articles and Publications

Saumure, R A., Freiermuth, B., Jundt, J.,Rowlett, L., Jewell, J. 2002. A New Technique for the Safe Capture and Transport of Crocodilians in Captivity. Herpetological Husbandry 33(4), 294-296.


Brian’s Suggested Reading:

“The Frogs and Toads of North America: A Comprehensive Guide to Their Identification,Behavior, and Calls” By Lang Elliott, Carl Gerhardt and Carlos Davidson, 2009 (Houghton Mifflin Company).

"Lizards of the American Southwest: A Photographic Field Guide”By Lawrence L. C. Jones and Robert E. Lovich, editors, 2009 (Rio Nuevo Publishers, Tucson, Arizona)

“The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica:  A Herpetofauna between Two Continents, between Two Seas” By Jay M. Savage, 2002 (University of Chicago Press)

“Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Third Edition, expanded” by Roger Conant and Joseph T. Collins, 1998 (Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY)

“Hylid Frogs of Middle America”by William E. Duellman,  2001 (Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, St. Louis, MO)

“Amphibians and Reptiles of Baja California Including its Pacific Islands and the Islands in the Sea of Cortés”, 2002 by L. Lee Grismer (University of California Press, Berkeley, CA)

“Ranas de hoja de Costa Rica (Leaf-frogs of Costa Rica)”
by Brian Kubicki, 2004 (Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, Costa Rica)

"Salamanders of the United States and Canada” by James W. Petranka , 1998 (Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C.)



Rainforest of the World



Frog Breeding Program

Snapping turtles move into Swamp