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World Snake Day: Celebrate and Educate

Here at Reptiland, our mission has always been to educate visitors on the less-loved members of the animal kingdom, namely snakes. We use the term “less-loved” because that’s a nice way of referring to most people’s perception of snakes. Throughout the years, we’ve often heard unfavorable comments made by guests or stories of people avoiding the zoo altogether simply because they dislike and/or fear snakes. The truth is, snakes are amazing creatures that are very much misunderstood. Put aside the myths and misconceptions and get the real story on snakes with this article.

We’ve tried our best over the past 50 years to dispel common myths and misconceptions about these beautiful animals, and we will continue to do so for years to come. That said, we’re proudly celebrating World Snake Day by sharing some of our favorite photos and facts about snakes!

A Few of our Fave Photos…

Did You Know?

  • There are more than 3,000 different species of snakes.
  • Snakes have no eyelids or external ears, and they smell with their tongues!
  • Snakes are found on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Snakes eat their prey whole and are able to consume prey three times larger than the diameter of their head because their lower jaw can separate from the upper jaw.
  • Some sea snakes can breathe partially through their skin allowing for longer dives underwater.
  • Corn snakes can angle their scales so that they dig into bark, allowing them to climb trees.
  • The paradise tree-snake of Southeast Asia can fly. It swings its body through the air, then flattens into a C-shape to catch the airflow. If it flips its body back and forth, it can change directions as it falls.

Happy World Snake Day!

Want to see more slithery serpents and learn all about them? Come see us! Click here for hours, rates, and show times.

 

Venom Starts this Weekend!

Update 12/5/13:  This limited event has been extended through January 2014!

Just in time for Halloween, when ghoulish characters and terrifying monsters are lurking about, we’ve got our own creepy creatures here at the zoo…

Monsters and Dragons and Giants, OH MY!

Gila monsters, Komodo dragons, and a giant cane toad to be more specific, and you can see all of them starting this Saturday at 1:30 pm! Check out Venom: Nature’s Chemical Weapon.* This fascinating live event showcases venomous species in a safe, entertaining format. Featured animals include a variety of reptiles as well as a scorpion and the poisonous cane toad (neither of which are on display here at the zoo!).

Although this show introduces viewers to many widely feared species, it’s also meant to educate people on the benefits of venom, particularly in the medical field. For instance, many know the deadly effects of venom, but did you know that it is also used in several medications as a pain reliever and helps treat various heart conditions?

Venom dispels common myths, highlights the potential animal toxins offer for human medicine, and presents tips for safely enjoying nature in areas where venomous reptiles live. Visit us this weekend at 1:30 (or any weekend through December) to experience Venom LIVE!

BONUS: Get here early and witness a Komodo dragon feeding in our new Island Giants building!

*Featured as our 1:30 pm show only on weekends in November and December; all other show times feature our standard Reptile show.

zoo keeper appreciation week

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

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!

behind-the-scenes toursVisitors 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.