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Crested gecko | Spring Babies: New additions to the zoo

Zoo Babies: New Additions to Celebrate the Start of Spring

Happy first day of spring!

Spring marks a time of new beginnings, and there’s no better beginning than welcoming a baby animal into the world! So to celebrate this season of new beginnings (and all the spring babies to come), we’re sharing all of the zoo babies we’ve welcomed over the past year!

Henkel’s leaf-tailed geckos

Through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Reptiland is part of a Species Survival Plan for many vulnerable and endangered animals. One of these, Henkel’s leaf-tailed geckos, are found on the island of Madagascar. Due to loss of habitat and collection for the pet trade, these geckos are listed as Appendix II by the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which means they need to be protected or they could end up on the endangered list. We’re excited to announce that we recently hatched 13 of these beautiful geckos!

Henkel's leaf-tailed gecko | Zoo Babies: New Additions to Celebrate the Start of Spring

Amazon milk frogs

Our Amazon milk frogs sure kept us busy. We had more than 200 tadpoles hatch over the past year! In the wild, eggs are laid in areas like tree hollows. The male will call a female over to lay her eggs which he will then fertilize. Once the tadpoles hatch, they need a food source, so the male will continue to call females over to the tree hollow to lay eggs. He won’t fertilize these clutches and instead will let his tadpoles eat them.

Amazon milk frogs | Zoo Babies: New Additions to Celebrate the Start of Spring

Poison dart frogs

We have many species of poison dart frogs on display at the zoo – the one pictured below is the phantasmal dart frog. Even though they’re less than an inch long, they’re by far the loudest of our poison dart frogs! The males call to the females and lead them to a bromeliad plant. The males will guard the fertilized eggs until they’re tadpoles. He will allow them to wiggle their way onto his back and will carry them to the water below. Much like the Amazon milk frogs, we had LOTS of new poison dart frogs this year!

Poison dart frogs | Zoo Babies: New Additions to Celebrate the Start of Spring

Day geckos

Many species of colorful day geckos live throughout Madagascar. They’re very opportunistic and eat a variety of insects, fruit, nectar, and smaller lizards. We house five species for our traveling exhibit Geckos: Tails to Toepads. Four of them are called jeweled day geckos for their small size and dazzling colors – peacock, lined, gold dust, and neon. The other species is MUCH bigger and is accurately named the giant day gecko.

Day geckos | Zoo Babies: New Additions to Celebrate the Start of Spring

Crested geckos

Crested geckos have become one of the most popular reptile pets over the last two decades. Incredibly, this species was thought to be extinct until they were rediscovered on their native island of New Caledonia in 1994 after a tropical storm! They’re named “crested geckos” due to hair-like structures that form a crest around their head and down their back. They also have them above their eyes which makes it look like they have eyelashes. Like most geckos, they cannot blink and must clean the transparent scale covering their eye with their tongue. We think they’re pretty cute all the time, but no one can deny how cute this tiny gecko is!

Crested gecko | Zoo Babies: New Additions to Celebrate the Start of Spring

Pueblan milk snakes

We had three clutches resulting in 16 baby Pueblan milk snakes this year! Right from the start, they have bright red bands which tell potential predators that they’re dangerous and to leave them alone. Here’s the fun part – milk snakes are completely harmless! They mimic the very deadly coral snake as a defense.

Pueblan milk snakes | Zoo Babies: New Additions to Celebrate the Start of Spring

So there you have it: all of the beautiful new additions to the zoo over the past year! Want to see more baby reptiles and amphibians? Check out our Behind-the-Scenes tours for access to Reptiland’s nursery!

butterflies

Spring Happenings

It’s an exciting time of year at Reptiland, the time of year we as a staff come to anticipate. This is the time that we welcome not only warm breezes and new blossoms, but also the opening of our seasonal exhibits. The planning starts earlier than you might think; before the end of 2011 was in sight, we had committed to bringing back the dinosaur exhibit. . . and making it even more impressive than before! Along with some new dinos, we will welcome back some favorites including Tyrannosaurus rex, Dilophosaurus, Euoplocephalus, our Parasaurolophus nest, and Chasmosaurus. New dinos you should keep an eye out for: an adult Parasaurolophus photo opportunity, Baryonyx, a pair of hunting Coelophysis, and a juvenile T. rex. All in all, we’ll have twelve dinosaurs on display from April 28 through Labor Day. Several dinosaurs will even remain at Reptiland permanently, allowing visitors to view them year round.

But that’s noSpring Happenings at Reptilandt all we’ve been up to… a few months ago, we placed our annual butterfly plant order. These carefully selected plants have been raised under the special care of the gardeners at Ashcombe Farms greenhouse near Mechanicsburg. It is essential that the plants are grown free of pesticides and harmful chemicals in order to be safe for the captivating butterflies that will soon live off of their nectar. The butterfly exhibit plants were delivered, transferred and planted into our butterfly greenhouse last week. By the middle of April, we will begin receiving our first shipments of butterfly chrysalis. We work with several butterfly farms in order to exhibit many different species, all native to North America. The butterflies are sent to us in the chrysalis stage and take anywhere from 5 to 10 days to emerge into an adult butterfly. Once a butterfly emerges it will, on average, live for about two weeks. The butterfly exhibit is a very relaxing place to stroll through and has been a favorite for guests over the past several years.

The butterfly exhibit, along with Dinosaurs Come to Life will be opening on April 28, 2012. Again this year, we will treat our members and exhibit sponsors to an exclusive preview night, to be held from 4-7 pm on Friday, April 27th. The exhibits open to the general public the following day, Saturday, April 28th.