• James Dr. James Haberfield

    Meet Dr James Haberfield, BSc, BVMS, PGCBM MANZCVS (Unusual Pets), MANZCVS (Avian Health)

    Dr James is the founder of the Unusual Pet Vets and is one of only a handful of vets in Australia to have passed his exams and gained Membership level accreditation with the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in the field of the Medicine and Surgery of Unusual Pets as well as Avian Health. He really loves working with all of the species and genuinely enjoys the challenge and variation of managing patients unique needs.

    Dr James has also been involved in a range of fieldwork activities from micro-chipping Western Spiny-tailed skinks to filming with King Cobras in India. He has authored numerous scientific papers and contributed to a range of books. James has also presented at a number of veterinary conferences and has made a range of appearances on TV and radio. Together with his dad Chris he maintains a large collection of reptiles including a number of different dragons, monitors as well as some pythons and tree snakes.

    In addition, to his reptile pets, Dr James has two Border Collied called Truffle and Willow, two rescue cats called Moppet and Mittens as well as four chickens that are collectively known as ‘the ladies’

    Outside of work, James really loves getting in the ocean so on his days off you’ll generally find him surfing or kitesurfing. Beyond that, James loves spending time at home with his wife, family and pets.


    Bachelor of Science – BSc

    Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery – BVMS

    Post Graduate Certificate in Business Management – PGCBM

    Member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in the field of the Medicine and Surgery of Unusual Pets – MANZCVS (Unusual Pets)

    Member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in the field of Avian Health (Caged and Aviary Birds) – MANZCVS (Avian Health)


  • Shane Dr. Shane Simpson

    Dr Shane Simpson is well known amongst the reptile keeping community as “The Reptile Doctor” and brings his wealth of experience in the field of reptile and amphibian medicine and surgery to The Unusual Pet Vets. He regular presents on the topic to fellow veterinarians, veterinary nurses and reptile keepers both here in Australia and internationally. In addition, he has contributed to several veterinary text books, held positions on animal ethics committees and does a considerable amount of work training wildlife rehabilitators about caring for injured reptiles.

    When not working at The Unusual Pet Vets, Shane can be found just up the road still treating dogs and cats at Karingal Veterinary Hospital where he is also a co-owner of the practice.

    Shane has a diverse reptile collection that his wife and two daughters are OK with as long as they stay behind the glass. He also has a big, dopey Bloodhound Cross dog named Butter.

  • Hamish b Dr. Hamish Baron

    Dr Hamish Baron is one of a small handful of specialist avian veterinarians in Australia. He moved from New Zealand to study veterinary science at the University of Queensland, after graduation he took a position at UQ as a rotating intern in small animal and exotic pet medicine. Following the internship he took over as Director of the Avian Reptile and Exotic Pet Hospital at the University of Sydney where he was based for four years, also undertaking a residency training programme in Avian Medicine and Surgery. Hamish is currently undertaking a PhD exploring novel treatments for Macrorhabdus orthinogaster through the University of Sydney. When he’s not working, Hamish can be found in the rivers of northern Tasmania, Victoria or Southern NSW looking for sapphires with his dog, Henrietta, a poodle X who loves to steal socks.

  • Michelle s Dr. Michelle Sutherland

    Meet Dr Michelle Sutherland 

    BVM&S, BSc (Hons I), MANZCVS (Avian Health), Cert AVP (ZooMed), Dip ABVP (Avian Practice), MRCVS

    Michelle originally hails from the UK and moved to Australia in 2012. She has completed a residency training programme in Avian Medicine and Surgery, during which she studied with bird specialists in Australia and the USA. Michelle is currently working towards obtaining specialist status in Avian Medicine through the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists and the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. By examination, Michelle has achieved Membership of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Avian Health, and is one of only a few vets in Australia to hold a Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice in Zoological Medicine, obtained through the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, which included training in the medicine and surgery of birds, rabbits, rodents and ferrets, and reptiles. Michelle enjoys working with all kinds of exotic pets, be they feathered, furry or scaly, but has a particular soft spot for birds and small mammals. Her experience working in the UK left her with a love of bunnies that will last for life!

    Before she was a vet, Michelle worked as a wildlife researcher in South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and the UK. She has written a number of scientific papers and is a regular contributor at veterinary conferences.

    Outside of work, Michelle enjoys spending time with her husband and young daughter and can be found bushwalking, wildlife watching and enjoying the produce of the great Australian vineyards. She also plays the ukulele (badly) and is terrorised by a very cheeky cockatiel called Marmalade.


    BVM&S, BSc (Hons I), MANZCVS (Avian Health), Cert AVP (ZooMed), Dip ABVP (Avian Practice), MRCVS


    To view Dr Michelle’s authored publications and journal articles, click here.

  • Erin Vet Nurse Erin

    Erin started working with exotics when she was after a new challenge in her career has been lucky enough to work with some fantastic vets and nurses. She has been able to and will continue to learn and expand her skill base.
    At home she is owned by two lazy dogs, two geckos, two pythons, a conure, a black cockatoo and the human family!

  • Alianna Vet Nurse Alianna

    Alianna moved to Melbourne in 2016 to pursue her passion in reptile and exotic veterinary medicine after finishing Bachelor of Veterinary Technology at Massey University in New Zealand. She has a strong interest in reptiles, especially elapidae (Venomous snakes), goannas and geckos but absolutely loves caring for all kinds of unusual pets from fluffies to scalies! On her days off work, she likes to go for skateboarding, surfing, rescuing wildlife or being a bookworm and hanging with her 2 kitties: Brad Kitt and Angfelina Joflea, a lorikeet named Señor, and 30+ reptilian pets.

  • Leonie Vet Nurse Leonie

    Leonie has been working in small animal practice for 8 years and has joined our team to follow her passion for exotics nursing. She has always had a love for reptiles, keeping reptiles most of her life and coordinating wild reptile rehabilitation with WIRES for several years in western NSW. Throughout her nursing she has also developed a love for small mammals, especially rabbits.

    At home leonie has 3 pythons, a monitor, and a cat named Sora.

  • Georgia Vet Nurse Georgia

    Georgia has been working as a vet nurse for several years and is very excited to persue her passion for reptiles and all the other exotic pets at the Unusual Pet Vets. This passion has lead her to many interesting jobs and lots of further study, but Veterinary Nursing is where she feels she is meant to be. At home Georgia has a collection of reptiles, Titan her Greyhound and Nala her cat. She is so excited to be part of this incredible team.