What an absolutely fabulous woman!
Joan Beauchamp Procter
Her best friend was a Komodo dragon and if that doesn’t entice you to read this, I don’t know what will.
Joan Beauchamp Procter is a scientist every reptile enthusiast should admire.
Joan was an incredibly intelligent young woman who was chronically ill (and as a result of her chronic illness, physically disabled by her early thirties). Her health issues kept her from going to college, but that did not stop her from studying and keeping reptiles. She presented her first paper to the Zoological Society of London at the tender age of nineteen, and the society was so impressed that they hired her to help design their aquarium. In 1923, despite having no formal secondary education and despite being only 26 years old, she was hired as the London Zoo’s curator of reptiles.
Now, that in and of itself is an awesome accomplishment, but Joan was absolutely not content to maintain the status quo. Nosiree, by the age of 26 Joan had already kept many exotic pets (including a crocodile!) and knew a thing or two about what needed to be done to improve their lives in captivity.
So Joan got together with an architect, Edward Guy Dawber, and designed the world’s first building designed solely for the keeping of reptiles. She had some really, really great ideas. Her first big idea was to make the building differentially heated- different areas and enclosures would have different heat zones, instead of having the whole building heated to one warm temperature.
She also set up aquarium lighting- the gallery itself was dark, with dim lights on individual enclosures to make things less stressful for the inhabitants. She also insisted on the use of special glass that didn’t filter out UVB. This meant that reptiles could synthesize vitamin D and prevented cases of MBD in her charges.
The above is just a snip of the article… read it!
I so love this lady… so smart… so lovely… so wow!