Bittersweet 5th Anniversary of The Reptile Zoo

This month marks the bittersweet 5th anniversary at The Reptile Zoo. Since 2009 we have had the absolute privilege to share some of the most amazing and exciting creatures with nearly a million visitors. We have reached many landmarks and have many more to come, but will have to do so with the loss of one of the cornerstones of The Reptile Zoo.  






If you followed construction of The Reptile Zoo you’ll remember our first groundbreaking project to herald the beginning of our transformation was the largest exhibit we had built to date for the largest snake we had ever seen. Today this snake is known the world around as TWINKIE, the 2014 Official Guinness Record Holding World’s Largest Albino Python in Captivity, but back then she was still nameless. One of the highlighted activities at the Grand Opening of The Reptile Zoo on July 10, 2009 was a contest to name this amazing creature. Over the first several months of The Reptile Zoo as word began to spread entries continued to increase in creativity and number until finally, with over 500 submissions and just in time to appear on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, her destiny was sealed and TWINKIE became the living legend of The Reptile Zoo.






During her 5 years at The Reptile Zoo TWINKIE delighted guests with not only her amazing size, but gentle disposition and beautiful albino pattern. TWINKIE’s fans were varied from the 5 year old youngsters who named her to experts who traveled the globe to see her in the flesh and judge her record breaking size. TWINKIE was an online phenomenon with her appearances in the popular YouTube webisodes series Prehistoric Pets: The Reptile Zoo, even a viral photo started on Tumblr that is still circling the web.



In 2011, a few months after her 8th birthday, we decided TWINKIE was ready for her own fan page which quickly surpassed over 1,000 followers in the first months and now reaching nearly 12,000! It was this internet popularity that lead to her most prestigious recognition. In late 2012 The Reptile Zoo team was contacted by Guinness World Records for their interest in including TWINKIE in the 2014 edition as the official “Largest Albino Python in Captivity”. This was the breakthrough we had always hoped for TWINKIE and after 10 years she would finally achieve it.

It seems all great triumphs are paired with great sadness; TWINKIE’s life was no exception.




Although not obvious to her many guests and fans while on display at The Reptile Zoo TWINKIE she has had little to no appetite eating a small meal once every couple months. For a snake known for her large size, and even criticized for “power feeding”, this was a shock to many during this period. We also noticed she was frequently going into a shedding cycle, which is uncommon for an animal who is not undergoing a large growth spurt. After 2 years of observing this combination, plus her lack of interest in her surroundings when knew it was time to step in. We tried minor changes in late 2012, with no success.

When February came around we knew what just might make all the difference in the world. We have always been hesitant to allow TWINKIE to breed in case there were any complications in childbirth, but over time we noticed a steady change in her personality, food cycle, and activity. We cautiously kept watch of these changes hoping she would be able to overcome them without intervention.

TWINKIE had always gotten plenty of attention from her adoring fans here at The Reptile Zoo, but as she matured it became obvious she desired to breed. Although she reached her sexual maturity many years earlier we had never provided an opportunity to breed. As such a unique specimen our staff was fearful the risks outweighed her natural desire to reproduce. But when we saw the negative impacts this decision caused both emotional and physical we carefully considered the best plan of action and began to find a suitable mate in early February.





Just in time for valentines 2013 TWINKIE was introduced to her first partner a large, although miniatured by her immense size, male Reticulated Python. After their first introduction we knew this was the right decision, because the two immediately started to breed and we hoped all of TWINKIE’s problems were a thing of the past. Like clockwork TWINKIE’s body began the nature egg production process, but again success is met with setbacks. We noticed the first egg in May 2013, but immediately knew there would be complications when only one appeared. These complications were somewhat expected as TWINKIE was already 10 years old and had never had the opportunity to lay her eggs during that time. The goal of this breeding had never been to reproduce, but to improve her health and reset her natural cycle, and in that way we had succeeded. After a short vacation TWINKIE was back to eating on a healthy schedule and ready to meet her fans with her newly crowned title from Guinness in September of 2013.





On her return although we did see an improvement in her shedding schedule which was now normalized her appetite began to diminish. We began the labor intensive strategy of transporting her to a separate feeding enclosure for her weekly meal which did increase her appetite, but was a difficult transition. A year of careful observation and her first male interaction we decided to again try to pair TWINKIE with a male and allow her body to go through it’s natural cycle. This time the breeding did not take and she was placed permanently off display in her feeding enclosure. For a time she again ate well and appeared to take a turn for the better, but just one month after celebrating her 11th birthday TWINKIE passed.



Because of the tragic nature of her loss we did not immediately share of her passing. We couldn’t believe it was true, we didn’t want it to be true, but as truth has a way of doing, the fact remained TWINKIE would no longer be part of The Reptile Zoo team. During this time only 5 people on the planet knew of her passing as we could not yet bear to share of this loss with the public. Even writing this statement seemed unbearable, we were frozen in grief, and honestly 3 months after her passing still are.

During her residency  at The Reptile Zoo TWINKIE brought great joy to the thousands who visited in person and the millions who enjoyed following her story online. She was an amazing creature that will not soon be forgotten and will be missed by all. We welcome your stories in remembrance. We have been torn as to what to do in her memory and welcome your suggestions. To learn more about TWINKIE's time at The Reptile Zoo please visit her Facebook Page at www.Facebook.com/WorldsLargestTWINKIE



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Octomellerium is Spreading at The Reptile Zoo

You heard it right we've got the early stages of Octomellerium at The Reptile Zoo... and we are pretty excited about it! Watch as Jay and Tim discuss the newest exhibit in progress at The Reptile Zoo in Fountain Valley, California then stop by and see it for yourselves. Opening day is July 30th!



As Jay said it all wouldn't be possible without our amazing exhibit sponsors
Brian Allen of ExhibitAdventures.com
Exo-Terra
California Driftwood
Prehistoric Pets
Kenny the Printer
All-In-One Handyman
PLUS our amazing team and volunteers!




We are so excited to announce Exo Terra as an exhibit sponsor of Meller Manor! The team has generously donated many of the supplies and decor that will keep these beautiful animals healthy and happy in The Reptile Zoo for years to come.

The state of the art products provided by the Exo-Terra team include:

Monsoon High Pressure Watering systems which will provide the necessary timed misting across the 40 foot exhibit. The brand new Reptile Fountain to provide constant available water sources for the large collection between misting schedules.

A variety of deluxe silk plants to provide the secure moisture holding hide areas to accommodate up to 10 Meller’s Chameleons.

Plenty of Repti-Glo T8 Bulbs to provide vital UVB coverage across the 40 x 8 foot exhibit. Plus multiple advanced Sunray Fixtures to provide necessary basking hot spots with increased heat, UVA, and UVB sources.

And of course grapevine to provide increased climbing outlets for these curious animals.

We have chosen these Exo-Terra products to provide the best available care for our newest additions to the zoo and you can to find out more about Exo-Terra visit http://www.exo-terra.com/en

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You're Invited to Meller Manor July 30th at The Reptile Zoo


Some of the world's most interesting animals are coming to a permanent exhibit at The Reptile Zoo in Fountain Valley, California. The ambitious "OctoMellerium" Project will bring together the largest captive collection in the world of free-ranging Meller's Chameleons. If you've never seen a Meller's Chameleon they are up to three feet long, live in trees and range in colors from banana yellow, to white, to orange to jungle green.


The exhibit will feature between eight and ten giant Meller’s Chameleons living together and interacting in a large free ranging environment inside The Reptile Zoo at Prehistoric Pets. Click here for photographs of what these gentle giants look like: Meller’s Chameleon Images Brian Allen, President of www.ExhibitAdventures.com, the Originator and Sponsor of the exhibit said in a recent interview that: “Meller’s Chameleons are from Tanzania and Malawi in Central Africa and while not immediately endangered they are threatened by habitat destruction as are most chameleons around the world. One of the objectives of the “Meller Manor/OctoMellerium Project” is to bring together different genetic strains of this Meller’s species and produce a strong breeding population in the United States.”


Laura and Jay Brewer, the daughter and father Owner Team at the Prehistoric Pets Reptile Zoo are excited by the project. Laura recently commented about the project. “The Meller Manor/OctoMellerium Project is just the sort of thing that the press, schools, parents, teachers and the scientific community can all stand behind and support. This will be the largest exhibit of its kind in the world and we are proud to provide a permanent home for it at Prehistoric Pets."


The Meller’s Chameleon’s have arrived in California safely thanks to BackwaterReptiles.com who imported them specifically for this project. A video of their arrival can be below:


The Meller Manor/OctoMellerium Project Opens on Laura Brewer’s Birthday on July 30th, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. PST. Presale tickets for the Grand Opening are available by calling (714) 500-0591 and asking for Laura Brewer. Discounted tickets for schools and other groups are available by booking in advance.

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Easter Time with Reptiles

Happy Easter!

 

Spring in full swing here with what seems like new babies hatching and being laid every day! We may be known around the world for our designer Reticulated Python morphs, but don't tell the other animals here that. Just in the month of April we've had suprise Carpet Python, Corn Snake, Leachianus Gecko, Plated Lizard, Children's Pythons and more! Keep an eye on the blog for updated videos of the clutches and all things Prehistoric!

 


Video Link

 

 

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Party Prehistoric Style

We always say we throw "Prehistoric Style" parties, but this year definitely dissapoint! As a thank you to all the great work our team puts in to make Prehistoric what it is we like to give back with a party at Jay's house, where he's the chef! If you know anything about Jay that means you better come hungry because no matter how many friends you bring, there will still be left overs to feed the neighborhood.

 

This year to feed the masses we feasted on Jay's signature tacos with a variety of meats plus homemade rice and beans, but why stop there? Jay also treated the team to BBQ ribs that seemed to disappear as fast as he could get them off the grill. Once we were so full we could barely move the unbelievable entertainment started. Thanks to Jay's connections we enjoyed a private FIRE BREATHING show!!!! I mean who does that?

Luckily no plants, animals, neighbors, or team members were burned in the show, but WOW were those flames big! Then we got the crowd laughing with a comical magical routine pitting some of our biggest and strongest against the magician's lovely assistant. In the end everyone had a chance to relax and just enjoy the company of their amazing co-workers and friends. I'll I've got to say is they better start planning now, because it's going to be hard to top that!

 

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Be My WILD Valentine!

The day dedicated to love has come again and we’re feeling festive. Our endearment for reptiles is pretty strong so we love when we can emphasize it. I mean what is more romantic than a long stroll through The Reptile Zoo?



There’s a plethora of sweet ideas for a reptile filled Valentine’s Day on our official Pinterest!




Don't have a WILD valentine? We've got you covered with our February special where you save $150 on a pair of bright red cornsnakes. Cornsnakes make fantastic pets and this super sale includes everything you'll need for less than a fancy piece of jewelry! How festive! But better act fast this sale is only here for the month of love then it will be whisked away to make way for an equally green deal in March!



So whether you’re cuddling up to a significant other or a reptile this coming Valentine’s Day we hope it’s a good one!
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Prehistoric Times in 2013

How could it already be a month into 2014?!? The year of the snake just slithered by so fast we barely had a chance to share some of the great experiences that came with it, but we're going to try to make it up to you with an extra long recap blog chocked full of photos & videos. So many we'll be highlighting details from some of our favorite stories over the next couple weeks as well.

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Come & Get It at The OC Fair with The Reptile Zoo

 

Spending your summer nights at the OC Fair? Make sure to stop by The Reptile Zoo hands-on display to meet Bob the 12ft Burmese Python! Then head back to Facebook to claim your complimentary photo download!
To find your complimentary photo download please visit the link below, here you will find an album for each day of the fair. To allow photo tagging and download just "LIKE" The Reptile Zoo fan page then share away!
www.facebook.com/thereptilezoo/photos_albums
If for some reason you are unable to locate your photos please email photobooth@prehistoricinc.com and we would be happy to assist you. Please allow 48 hours for upload.

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Miracle Babies

Here at The Reptile Zoo we see every reptile birth as a special miracle, but last week there was no doubt how special our newest addition was!

We were more than surprised to find a TWO-HEADED Reticulated Python with huge potential. As you can see in the photo these little guys are conjoined right at the neck with two completely separate heads and a shared body, very similar to our longtime two-headed mascots Thelma & Louise, but unlike Thelma & Louise who are Texas Ratsnakes these retic newbies have the potential to grow over 200lbs! Just imagine that!

 

 

Snakes, just like humans can have twins which share one egg when developing, but in some cases the two can grow together to create conjoined twins. Just like with humans depending on the area and severity of the connection the two can live a long unhindered life. For example Thelma & Louise have been at The Reptile Zoo for over 10 years, which is long for any ratsnake let alone two-headed!

Now that these two have been out and about getting used to their new environment we are anxiously waiting their next steps into maturity and stability which include their first shed and first meal. These markers will help us guage their health and status, but after already trying to nibble on our fingers we don't think limited appetite will be their problem!

Be sure to keep an eye on the blog to keep up with their progress and even be part of naming these amazingly unique animals. We'll also be updating Facebook with quick glimpses at the newbies!

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The Youth Expo Experience 2013

On April 12th-14th the annual Youth Expo was held at the Orange County Fairgrounds. The Youth Expo is a gathering of educational displays and non-profit organizations centered on a younger crowd. We have gotten to be a part of this wonderful event for about 10 years now and always enjoy participating. 

Our set up has a tortoise pin, cages with various reptiles, and our infamous T-Rex on display. Throughout the day two of our employees have out two different animals for the crowd to interact with, typically being a bearded dragon and a ball python. 

We tried out a new in-car TV technique this year in which we had a TV in the trunk of one of our party cars. It continually played episodes from The Reptile Zoo series and people could come and watch whenever they pleased. Not to mention it looked pretty cool. 

Our unique animals offer a unique experience for all ages. Who wouldn’t love getting up close and personal with these awesome animals?

 

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