Ryan McVeigh started keeping reptiles at the age of 7 and has had a passion for them ever since. In college he worked at a local pet store. This sparked his enthusiasm to where he was personally caring for over 50 snakes and geckos. Today he is a bonafide enthusiast. Caring for and breeding a collection of over 250 reptiles and amphibians.
Ryan actively enjoys spreading the word about the “awesomeness of reptiles”. In 2010 he founded the Madison Area Herpetological Society (MAHS). The goal was to help educate others about these commonly misunderstood creatures. The group was recently awarded “Herpetological Society of the Year” by The Reptile Report. He frequently is a guest lecturer and educational liaison to the University of Wisconsin’s Veterinary School, Globe University, Madison College, and many other local schools. Ryan is also the Wisconsin representative for the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK). This group works locally and nationally to defend our freedom to keep reptiles and amphibians. Ryan is involved with local conservation efforts like the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Geological Survey Wildlife Health Services dealing with Timber Rattlesnake fungal disease and salamander migrations.
Ryan graduated from the Milwaukee School of Engineering where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering and a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Ryan is able to use this technical background to innovate and market reptile products under the Zilla brand.
When he is not at work, Ryan spends a lot of time with his family and all his reptilian friends. The entire family loves reptiles and help in their care. Ryan and his wife are avid field herpers, spending April through October hiking all over the US searching for reptiles and amphibians in their natural habitats.
While many people keep reptiles and amphibians as pets, there is an entirely different world available to those who enjoy these awesome creatures – the world of field herping.