Derek Toth

Derek Toth is a third-generation animal trainer from Palmdale, California. His grandfather was Master Falconer George Toth, founder of Cougar Hill Ranch, Inc. which provided animal training services for the motion picture industry for 50 years. Growing up on an animal ranch, Derek became impassioned about animals, wildlife, and the conservation of the environment from a young age. At the age of eight, Derek worked for the first time on set as an actor in a commercial for the Kia Spectra automobile, which featured a family of baboons harassing a family of four as they walked through a Safari park. This was the first of many on-set experiences with animals, as Derek followed in his family’s footsteps by pursuing a career as an animal trainer for the motion picture industry. Since then, he has had the pleasure of caring for and training a wide assortment of wild and domestic animals such as dogs, cats, sheep, deer, wolves, cougars, badgers, bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, baboons, tortoises, snakes, chickens, rats, mice, squirrels, butterflies and more.

After graduating high school, Derek attended College of the Canyons where he obtained an Associate in Arts degree, with an emphasis in Philosophy. During college, he worked at Warner Bros. Studios as a Technical Asset Auditor/Data Analyst for Assertive Industries, and later as a dog trainer/groomer for high-profile clients in the Los Angeles area. During this time, he also worked a part-time job as a caretaker of dogs, cats, wolves, and primates for Santa Clarita Animals. After college, Derek picked up production assistant gigs to get as much set experience as possible, before he began working full-time as a studio animal trainer and snake wrangler. Currently, he has thousands of hours of set-time under his belt.

An enthusiastic and dedicated professional with 10+ years of experience training animals for the productions of a wide range of film, video, and photography projects, Derek is no stranger to the business and possesses a wealth of knowledge in regards to training animals on movie sets. Some of his credits include commercials for Apple, Brooks Brothers, Target, Dominos, Skechers, Mercy Health, Nationwide Insurance, Georgia Electric; TV shows like American Horror Story and Legends of the Hidden Temple; Films such as Palm Springs, Birds of Prey, The Starling, Being the Ricardos, various foreign films; and video games like Killzone 3 and Cabela’s Big Game Hunter. In 2018, Derek began training in the management and relocation of venomous snakes while shooting on location. In his off time, Derek enjoys backcountry hiking and performing animal educational shows as a volunteer.