Personal data

Name: Jesús A. Rivas
of birth: Caracas, Venezuela
Citizenship: Venezuelan, US permanent resident.


Dept of Biology
New Mexico Highlands University
1005 Diamond Ave

Las Vegas NM 87701

Phone: (505 454 3292)


Ph.D. at Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. University of Tennessee at Knoxville. 1999.

Licenciatura in Biology, Caracas 1990. Universidad Central de Venezuela

Fireman training course 1981. Cuerpo de Bomberos Universitarios de Caracas, Venezuela

High school at Liceo Francisco Espejo. Caracas, Venezuela. Graduated 1980.


Language skills

Spanish (native speaker)

Portuguese (ability to communicate).


Work and research experience

Visiting Scholar at the Ohio State University from May 2007 May 2010.

Contributing Columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington KY 2008

Scientific Consultant for the exhibit Vicious Fishes and Other Riches of the Miami Museum of Science 2004.

Visiting Scholar at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville from September 2001.

Field on-Air correspondent for National Geographic Television from September 2000 to the present. Work as a presenter doing documentaries about wildlife in the tropics.

Ph. D. Research, life history, ecology, and conservation of the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) in the Venezuelan Llanos. Included research on population dynamics, habitat use and mobility, diet, mating system and reproduction. Sponsored by Profauna (the Venezuelan Fish and Wildlife Service), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), CITES and the National Geographic Society. January 1992 - April 1999.

Conservation management research, conducted graduate research in life history and conservation of the green iguana (Iguana iguana). Included study of population dynamics (mark and recapture), captive rearing, reproduction, and antipredator behavior. Hato Masaguaral, Venezuela. Sponsored by Profauna and Wildlife Conservation Society. January 1990 - March 1992.

Field research assistant, for the conservation and management project of the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) on Isla de Aves, Venezuela. Included mark and recapture and nest translocation. FUDENA, Venezuela. August 1991 - December 1991.

Undergraduate research, conducted detailed study of diet of the green iguana involving processing 360 live individuals. Hato Masaguaral, Venezuela. January 1988 to May 1989.

Endangered species recovery program, assistant for the program of conservation and reintroduction of the Orinoco Crocodile (Crocodylus intermedius) in the Venezuelan Llanos. Included surveys, mark and recapture, and captive breeding. Coordinated by WCS. 1989 - 1991; 1997-1998 (part time).

Government research consultant, for the project of conservation and management of green iguanas in Venezuela. Profauna, Venezuela. 1991.

Field research assistant for the study of reproductive success of hoatzins (Opisthocomus hoazin), included censuses, surveys, nest monitoring, and banding of nestlings. Hato Masaguaral, Venezuela. July 1988 - November 1988.

Government internships, Conducted conservation research and management of

1.- spectacled caiman (Cayman crocodilus), and

2.- capybaras (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris). Servicio Autonomo de Fauna Silvestre, Venezuela. November 1985 - April 1986.

Fire department commander, campus branch at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, 1987. Fireman from 1980 to 1987. Direction of the campus branch of the fire department during the last year of service. Other activities while commander include: creation and organization of community outreach activities including the first public workshop of search and rescue (SAR) in Venezuela, and several education programs on campus.

Teaching Experience

Associate Professor.  New Mexico Highlands University 2013-present.

Assistant Professor New Mexico Highlands University 2010-2013

Assistant Professor Somerset Community College from Fall 2006-2010

Adjunct Professor Columbus State Community College Fall 2005 and Spring 2005

Adjunct Professor Otterbein College Fall 2005 and Spring 2005

Academic Director for the School for International Training at the Program of Comparative Ecology in Ecuador. Spring 2005

Assistant professor of Tropical Ecology at Boston University. Fall 1999 to Spring 2000.

Teaching assistant, for General Biology at the University of Tennessee, Spring 1998.

Teaching assistant, for Comparative Animal Behavior at University of Tennessee, Fall 1997.

Teaching assistant, Tropical Biology: an Ecological approach. Organization for Tropical Studies, Costa Rica. June 1996 - August 1996.

High school Instructor, for courses in General Biology, Instituto Educational José Félix Ribas 1989.

Coordinator and instructor, for the college courses of First Aid Techniques, Department of Nutrition, UCV. 1984 - 1986.

Dept. of Education Director, Universidad Central de Venezuela campus fire department. Duties involved coordination and instruction of courses in first aid, fire safety and prevention 1983 - 1986.

Instructor, Public Industrial Safety course, Cuerpo de Bomberos Universitarios UCV. 1981 - 1983.

Awards and Honors


 New Mexico NSF EPSCoR Infrastructure Seed Grant Program 2011

Faculty Research Grant New Mexico Highlands University 2010

Somerset Community College Wanda Bolze excellence award June 2009

Somerset Community College Wanda Bolze excellence award June 2008.

Research grant from Anaconda Investment 2007

Grant from Miami Metro Zoo Conservation and Research Fund 2004.

Best Film Award from the Animal Behavior Society 2003.

Reseacher level I in el Programa de Promoción al Investigador from the Concejo Nacional de investigaciones Cientificas de Venezuela. 2001.

Science Alliance Research of Excellence Award. 1998.

CONICIT Award for the Novel Researcher. 1997.

National Geographics Film and Research Grant. 1996.

National Geographic Research and Exploration Awards. 1994.

BID-CONICIT doctoral fellowship. 1993.

Wildlife Conservation Society Doctoral Research Grant. 1993.

Econatura Scholarship for Research and Conservation. 1992.

Joint grant of CITES & Profauna for applied wildlife research. 1992.

Wildlife Conservation International Graduate Research Grants. 1990 -1991.

Concejo National de Ciencias y Humanidades Undergraduate Grants 1989.

Wildlife Conservation International Undergraduate Research Grant. 1988.



Reproductive Biology of Amphibians 10 hours Universidade Estadual do Campinhas Brazil.

Cytogenetic applied to herpetology. 10 hrs. Universidad de Los Andes, 1990.

Systematic herpetology 10hrs. Universidad de Los Andes , 1990.

Planification and Prevention for Disasters 120hrs. Cuerpo de Bomberos del Distrito Federal. 1987

Survival in Water emergencies, Grupo de Rescate Lara 96hrs. 1985.

Industrial Security Oil treatment plant EL Palito 32hrs 1984

Curricular Design for teaching effectively, Universidad José María Vargas 30hrs. 1984.

Management of Lab animals, Instituto Nacional de Higuiene Rafael Rangel. 50hrs. 1983.

Rescue and medical assistant Cuerpo de Bomberos del distritio federal 40hrs 1981.

Scuba diving (*), Centro de Actividades Sub-Acuaticas (CASA) UCV 1981

Oral Delivery, Instituto de Cooperación Educativa (INCE) 20hrs. 1980.

Meetings and Conferences (contributing).

Joint Meeting of SSAR ASIH and HL, Lawrence Kansas July 2015

Joint Meeting of SSAR ASIH and HL, Chattanooga Tennessee July 2014

Joint Meeting of SSAR ASIH and HL, Albuquerque New Mexico July 2013

7th World Herpetological Congress, August 2012, Vancouver CA

Animal Behavior Society June 2012, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Workshop for the conservation of Orinoco Crocodile Guanare. Venezuela February 2007.

Defenders of Wildlife's Carnivores 2004.  Expanding Partnerships in Carnivore Conservation.  Santa Fe, New Mexico.  November, 2004

Joint Meeting of SSAR ASIH and HL, Manaus  Brazil July 2003

Joint meeting of SSAR, ASIH, and HL Kansas City, July 2002

Joint meeting of SSAR and HL  Indianapolis, Indiana, July, 2001

Joint meeting of SSAR and HL Indianapolis, Indiana, July, 2001.

Invited speaker for the Symposium on education of the Texas Herpetological Society. Tyler, 2000.

Joint meeting of ASIH, SSAR and HL. La Paz, Mexico. June 2000.

Joint meeting of ASIH, SSAR and HL. Guelph, Canada. July, 1998.

Snake Ecology for the 21st Century. Tyler, Texas. 1997.

World meeting of Herpetology. Prague, 1997.

WD Alaska 45th Wildlife Conference of the Wildlife Disease Association. Alaska 1996.

International Iguana Society. San Salvador, Bahamas 1995.

Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR). Boone, North Carolina 1995.

Animal Behavior Society. Lincoln, Nebraska 1995.

Third Latin American Herpetological Meeting. Campinhas, Brazil 1993.

Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR). Bloomington, Indiana 1993.

Second Latin American Herpetological Meeting. Mérida, Venezuela 1990.


Other presentations and Lectures

Visiting Speaker at:

Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Colorado (CoPark) 2015

Universidad Nacional de Aguas Calientes 2014

University of Tulsa, September 2012

Morehead University October 2010

Troy University, May 2010

Eastern Kentucky University October 2009

Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond. October 2007

Valencia Community College, Florida, November 2004.

Murray State University, Kentucky, October 2004.

Valencia Community College, Florida, November 2002.

Instituto Migue Lillo, Universidad de Tucuman, Argentina, September 2002.

La Sierra University, Riverside California, February 2002

University of Tennessee at Knoxville, October 2001.

Center for the Reproduction of Endangered Species at San Diego Zoological Park , June 2001.

North Carolina Herpetological Society, August 2000.

San Diego Herpetological Society, September 1999.

Instituto de Biología Experimental. Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas June 1997.

Visiting speaker at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama August 1996.

University of Tyler. Tyler, Texas. November 1995.


Professional Membership

Animal Behaviour Society

Society for Conservation Biology

Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles

Society the Study of Ichthyology and Herpetology

Herpetologist League

International Iguana society


Television and Films

The Untamed Mountain. Discovery Channel, January 1998.

Secrets of Dragons. Germany, aired in October 1997.

Anaconda. Dateline NBC, September 1998.

The Land of the Anaconda, National Geographic Explorer. September 1998. TBS.

Orinoco Crocodile. Nick's quest. Channel 5 Available light and Discovery. November 1998.

Anacondas, Nick's quest. Channel 5 Available light and Discovery. December 1998

Anaconda: The Aquatic Jungle, Discovery Channel. May 1999.

Arkansas Anaconda? National Geographic Television October 2000

The Crocodiles of the Orinoco, National Geographic Explorer. July 2001

Supersnake, National Geographic Television, Series Out There. Fall 2001

The trails of a Bare footed Biologist. National Geographic Television, Series, True Originals Summer 2002

Ssssnakes Alive. 60 Minutes Australia. CBS Summer 2003

Anakondas, Pro 7 Terra Nostra, Germany. July 2003

Vipers bad rap. National Geographic Television Series Snake Wranglers Fall 2003

The Ultimate Snake. National Geographic Ultimate Explorer Fall 2003

Jesus and the Snake in the Garden of Eden. National Geographic Television. Series Snake Wranglers

The lost Worlds of South America, National Geographic Ultimate Explorer.

Serpent Handlers, the mystery of the Appalachians. Tropical Wildlife llc.

Monster Quests.  Giant Killer snake.  History Channel 2008

Anacondas; Queen of serpents National Geographic Television February 2010.

Frankie: Menace or Healer. Tropical Wildlife llc.

Titanoboa: Monster Snake.  Smithsonian Channel. 2012


Essays and Opinion articles


Rivas, J. A.  2008 Displacement Behavior and Stockholm Syndrome in the US "LEFT": Why They Can't Get Their Heads Around the Bolivarian Revolution.  The Axis of Logic January. 

Rivas, J. A., 2007, What is the path to Socialism Revolution or Evolution?: The Axis of Logic, v. July

Rivas, J. A., 2007, Environmental Conservation and Socialism. A Conservationist Manifesto for the Venezuela's revolution: The Axis of Logic, v. July 

Rivas, J. A., 2007, What is wrong with Pain Killers, NPR, the Democractic Party and Conservation Biologists?: The Axis of Logic, v. October

Rivas, J. A. (2007). "The immigration problem: What problem? Whose problem?" The Axis of Logic August

Rivas, J. A., 2006, Understanding the minds of the neocons: Oil wars,  attacks on the Venezuelan revolution and the corruption of US democracy: Vheadlines, v. Available at

Rivas, J. A. 2005.  Comparing Ecuador and Venezuela: Similar Opposition, Very Different Governments.  Venezuelanalysis April available at


Research and Publications

Book Chapters

Rivas, Jesus.  2008. How I Survived: Killer Bees. In National Geographic Complete Survival Manual by Michael S. Sweeney, (Washington, DC: National Geographic Society), 68-69

Rivas, J. Muñoz, M, Burghardt, G. and J Thorbjarnarson 2007.  Sexual size dimorphism and mating system of the Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus). pp: 312-325  In:  R. W. Henderson, R. and Powell, G. W. (eds.), Biology of Boas, Pythons, and Related Taxa. Eagle Mountain Publishing Company, Eagle Mountain.

Rivas, J. A., M. d. C. Muñoz, J. B. Thorbjarnarson, G. M. Burghardt, W. Holmstrom, and P. Calle. 2007. Natural History of the green anacondas (Eunectes murinus) in the Venezuelan llanos.  pp: 128-138-415. In:  R. W. Henderson, and R. Powell, (eds.), Biology of Boas, Pythons, and Related Taxa. Eagle Mountain Publishing Company, Eagle Mountain.

Rivas, J. A. and Levin, L.   2004. Sex differential antipredator behavior in juvenile green iguanas, Iguana iguana: evidences for fraternal care. pp: 119-126.   In Behavior, Diversity, and Conservation of Iguanas (Alberts, A. C., R. L. Carter, W. K. Hayes, and E. P. Martins, Eds.) University of California Press, Berkeley.

Rivas, J. A., Rodriguez, J. V., and C. G. Mittermeier (2002) The llanos. pp: 265-273. In Mittermeier, R.A. (ed.) Wildernesses. CEMEX, Mexico  (click here for pdf)

Rivas, J. A. and G. M. Burghardt (2002) Crotalomorphism: A Metaphor to Understand Anthropomorphism by Omission. pp: 9-17. In The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition (eds) Bekoff, M. A. Colin and G. M. Burghardt (click here for PDF)

Published Articles:

Rivas, J. A., C. R. Molina, S. J. Corey-Rivas, and G. M. Burghardt. 2016. Natural History of Neonatal Green Anacondas (Eunectes murinus):  A Chip off the Old Block. Copeia, 104: 402-410.

Dunbar, J. P. Zarelli, M., Martin, S. A., Gandola, R. Kavanagh, K. A.  Walsh, F. M.  and  Rivas, J. A.   2015  Trunk vertebrae osteomyelitis in a spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus). Herpetological Bulletin 134: 15-18.

De La Quintana, P., Pacheco, L,. J. A. Rivas.  2011.  Eunectes beniensis:  Cannibalism. Herpetological Review 42:614.

Rivas, J. A.  2010.  Is Wildlife Management Business of Conservation:  A Question of Ideology.  Reptiles and Amphibians  17: 112-115.

Rivas, J. A. & S. J. Corey.  2008 Eunectes murinus (green anaconda). Longevity.  Herpetological Review.  39: 469

Rivas, J. A.; Ascanio R. & M. D Muñoz.  2008.  What is the length of a snake?  Contemporary Herpetology. 2008 (2): 1-3 (pdf)

Rivas, J. A. 2007  Conservation of Anacondas: How Tylenol conservation and macroeconomics threaten the Survival of the world's largest snake.  Iguana  10-21 unabridged version

Rivas, J. A. 2007.  La conservación ambiental en el socialismo del siglo XXI:  ensayo para un manifiesto conservacionista.  Aporrea April available on line at  English version at:

Rivas J. A. and G. M. Burghardt 2005. Snake mating systems, behavior, and evolution: The revisionary implications of recent findings.  Journal of Comparative Psychology 119: 447-454

Rivas, J. A. 2004 Eunectes murinus (green anaconda): Subduing behavior. Herpetological Review 35(1):

White, J. M. and J. A. Rivas, 2003. Paleosuchus trigonatus (Dwarf Caiman) Neonate time budget. Herpetological Review. 34 (2): 141.

Rivas, J. A. and S. Kane. 2003. Pseustes sulphureus (Amazon Puffing Snake): Diet Herpetological Review. Herpetological Review. 34 (1): 72.

Rivas, J. A. and R. Y. Owens 2002. Crocodylus intermedius (Orinoco crocodile): age at first reproduction Herpetological Review. 33(3): 203.

Calle, P. P.. Rivas J. A. Muñoz, M. C. Thorbjarnarson, J. B. Holmstrom, W. and W. B. Karesh. 2001.  Infectious Disease serologic survey in free-ranging Venezuelan anacondas (Eunectes murinus).  Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 32(3): 320-323 (PDF file)

Rivas, J. A., Aktay, S. A. and R. Y. Owens. 2001  Paleosuchus trigonatus (Schneider’s Smooth-fronted Caiman): Nesting and hatching Herpetological Review. 32: 251. (PDF file)

Rivas, J. A. and Burghardt G. M. 2001 Sexual size dimorphism in snakes: wearing the snake’s shoes. Animal Behaviour. 62(3): F1-F6. (PDF file)

Rivas, J. A. 2001. Feasibility and efficiency of transmitter force-feeding in studying the reproductive biology of large snakes. Herpetological Natural History. 8(1): 93-95. Herpetological Natural History. 8(1): 93-95.

Rivas, J. A., Owens R. Y. and P. P. Calle. 2001. Eunectes murinus: Juvenile predation. Herpetological Review. 32 (2): 107-108.

Rivas, J. A. and R. Y. Owens. 2000. Eunectes murinus (green anaconda): cannibalism. Herpetological Review. 31(1):44-45.

Rivas, J. A., Thorbjarnarson, J. B., Owens, R. Y and M. C, Muñoz, 1999 Eunectes murinus: caiman predation. Herpetological Review. 30 (2): 101

Rivas, J. A. and R. Y. Owens. 1999. Teaching conservation effectively: a lesson from life history strategies. Conservation Biology. 13 (2): 453-454

Rivas, J. A. 1998. Predatory attack of a green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) on an adult human. Herpetological .Natural History Vol. 6(2): 157-159.

Rivas, J. A. 1998. The Miracle of Universities. Conservation Biology. Vol 12(6): 1169-1170.

Rivas J. A., Molina, C.R., and Avila, T.M. 1998. Iguana iguana (Green iguana): Juvenile predation. Herpetological Review 29 (4): 238-239

Rivas, J. A. 1997 Natural history: hobby or science? Conservation Biology.: 11(3): 811-812.

Rivas J. A., Molina C. R. Ávila T. M. 1996. A non-flushing stomach wash techniques for large lizards. Herpetological Review. 27(2): 72-73.

Raphael, B.L., Calle, P.P.; Karesh, W., Rivas, J. A., and D. Lawson. 1996. Technique for surgical implantation of transmitters in snakes. Proceedings of the Wildlife Disease Association. 1996: 82.

Rivas, J. A. and Ávila, T. M. 1996. Sex differences in hatchlings Iguana iguana. Copeia. 1996: 219-221

Rivas, J. A., Muñoz M del C., Thorbjarnarson, J. B., Holmstrom, W. and Calle P. 1995. A safe method for handling large snakes in the field. Herpetological Review. 26: 138-139

Calle, P., Rivas, J., Muñoz M., Thorbjarnarson, J., Dierenfeld, E. Holmstrom, W. Braselton, E. and Karesh W. 1994. Health assessment of free-ranging anacondas (Eunectes murinus) in Venezuela. Jour. Zoo. Wildl. Med. 25: 53-62.

Unpublished monograph and technical reports:

Rivas, J. A. 2000. Life history of the green anacondas with emphasis on its conservation Biology. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. USA.

Thorbjarnarson, J., Rivas, J. and Muñoz M. 1995. Ecology and behavior of the anacondas in Venezuela. Technical Report to the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration.

Muñoz M. and Rivas J. 1994. Ecologia y Conservación de la anaconda (Eunectes murinus) en Venezuela, segundo Informe. Technical report to CITES

Rivas J. and Muñoz M. 1992 Ecologia y Conservación de la anaconda (Eunectes murinus) en Venezuela. Technical report to CITES. 78p.

Rivas J. 1991. Estudio de factibilidad del aprovechamiento racional del recurso iguana verde (Iguana iguana). 36p. Technical report to the Venezuelan Fish and Wildlife Service, Profauna.

Rivas, J. 1990. Dieta de la iguana verde (Iguana iguana) en los llanos centrales de Venezuela durante la estación seca. Unpublished thesis presented to the Universidad Central de Venezuela . 96p. 1990. Caracas, Venezuela.