Behind-the-Scenes tours at Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the zoo like never before. Have you ever wondered how our zoo keepers safely care for and clean up after venomous snakes and the training they must undergo in order to become confident enough to do so? Are you curious how they can work so closely with animals such as an adult American alligator? Have you ever wondered what a tiny poison dart frog might eat?
Many people often ask questions such as these during their visits to Reptiland, so several years ago we began offering Behind-the-Scenes Tours. This experience is specifically designed for the curious-natured visitor who values the one-on-one time with our dedicated zoo keeper staff. Tours are scheduled at a time that works for both parties; then it’s just you, a zoo keeper, and our off-display animals for a full 30 minutes!
You may not realize it, but Reptiland cares for several hundred animals in our off-display collection. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, we have a backup supply of animals in case one of the exhibited species has any sort of health issue; we can place another animal on display for our guests to view without ever having any habitats empty. Secondly, Reptiland owns and manages a fleet of traveling exhibitions that are rented out to museums, zoos, and science centers throughout North America. These exhibits include Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly, two separate units of Frogs! A Chorus of Colors, and Geckos-Tails to Toepads. We also manage the husbandry of a fifth traveling exhibit, Lizards and Snakes Alive! which is owned by the American Museum of Natural History. Each of these traveling exhibits includes nearly 20 species of animals within the exhibit. Part of owning these exhibitions includes maintaining a backup collection of every animal that is on display within them. You can see how all these add up to make one very large animal collection!
Visitors who have scheduled a Behind-the-Scenes Tour over the past year have also been delighted by one other surprise – Komodo dragons! Until the completion of our Komodo dragon building sometime in the near future, these two reptiles are being raised in our off-display area under very special care. They are extremely curious and always very aware of any visitors who make their way into the Reptile room to take a look at them. *Update: the Island Giants exhibit featuring our Komodo dragons is now open!
With these tours, not only do you receive the opportunity to see these many reptiles and amphibians up close, but you also will learn about the venomous snake handling procedures, the dietary needs of our collection, and all that goes along with a career in animal care. And of course, our zoo keepers are more than happy to answer all your questions along the way. Behind-the-Scenes tours make a great experience for the animal lover, future herpetologist, or anyone who may be curious about our state-of-the-art animal care facilities. Visit our Behind-the-Scenes Tours page for more information.