Remembering Thelma and Louise

It has been an uncommonly hard year for us here at the Reptile Zoo. Shortly after the loss of our beloved Twinkie, we found that our dynamic duo, Thelma and Louise had too passed. It seems unfair and tragic that after the loss of such a big part of our team, we must say goodbye to another member that made our little zoo so special. The two-headed Texas ratsnake who delighted kids and adults for the past 14 years has sadly gone on to snake heaven, leaving a two-headed hole in our hearts.

Thelma and Louise was an incredibly special snake. Most polycephalic (that’s science talk for more than one head) creatures are stillborn, and even fewer survive longer than a few days or weeks once born. Our two-headed duo surpassed all odds, surviving to an incredible 14 years. Considering that a normal one-headed Texas ratsnake has a lifespan of 10-15 years we’re ultimately saddened but unsurprised by her passing.

Polycephalic creatures are formed when twin embryos fuse inside the egg or womb they are developing in. Any animal can have two heads, but snakes are one of the few species that can generally survive, or even in special cases like Thelma and Louise, thrive. The ability of a two headed animal to survive generally depends on just how well individual parts and organs formed. Thelma and Louise each had their own throat and windpipe, which joined up to share one stomach and set of lungs. In general, whichever head got to the food first was the one that got to eat. This occasionally led to some funny conundrums, like when Thelma and Louise each had one end of a mouse and wouldn’t let go, leading to a Lady and the Tramp-esqe dinner.

In the end, Thelma managed to wrestle the mouse away from Louise (Louise was the left head) and send it down to their shared stomach. Either way, they were both fed!

Showing off their pearly whites...

Rest in Peace lovely girls, you’ll be sorely missed.

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Reptile Facts Friday- Australia Edition

It’s Reptile Facts Friday!

We’re starting a new blog series here at the Reptile Zoo where we take 3 of our awesome animals and tell you a fun fact about them! This week, we’re highlighting our favorite Australian Lizards and their awesome defense systems!

Let’s start with one of the most charismatic reptiles out there, the bearded dragon! Beardies, as they’re called by enthusiasts, have one of the most obvious defense mechanisms of the lizard world. These little dudes are covered in big spikes all along their neck, cheek, and sides. Smaller spikes stand out from their legs, tail, and head.

Anything that wants to eat a bearded dragon has to think twice, as these guys are like the puffer fish of the lizard world. When feeling threatened, these guys will poof themselves up to almost double their usual body width. That lovely beard of spikes will inflate and turn black, and they will open their mouths and hiss. The overall effect is rather impressive, as you can see.

Image © David Kleinert (

Our next Aussie is slightly more subtle but no less awesome. The blue tongued skink gets its name from its main form of defense! These cool lizards have a tongue that is, you guessed it, blue!

When feeling threatened, the skink will puff itself up, hiss, and show off its bright blue tongue. Bright colors in the animal kingdom generally mean that the animal with them is poisonous. While the blue tongued skink doesn’t actually have poison or venom, their attacker will usually fall for the trick and leave them alone.

Image © David Kleinert (

If that display doesn’t work, their hard thick scales can protect them from bites. They’re capable of running surprisingly fast for their tiny legs, and can drop their tails at will to distract a predator. Most of the time their snake-like appearance is enough to make anybody think twice about touching them.

The last and possibly most bizarre Australian lizard is the Frill-Necked Lizard, or Frilled Dragon. These little guys get their name from the large flap of extra skin attached to their jawline. The frill is usually kept close to the body and out of the way to prevent damage, giving them a slightly wrinkly appearance.

When threatened, the lizard opens their mouth and extends their frill, showing off the bright colored spots usually hidden in the folds of skin. This rapid increase in perceived size is enough to frighten any predator, but the lizard doesn’t stop there. They will hiss, stand on their hind legs using their tail for balance, and even chase after their attackers to make good and sure they don’t get messed with.

So there you have it! Three Australian lizards with three awesome defenses! That’s all for Reptile Facts Friday this week!

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New Animals!!!!

Boy oh Boy! As the summer winds down the excitement heats up, in the form of some awesome new animals here at the Reptile Zoo!

G’day the Scrub Python:

If there’s one thing people know about Australia’s reptiles, it’s that they tend to be any combination of big, startling, or extremely venomous. In the rough and tumble outback, you have to be well adapted to survive. We were lucky enough to be able to acquire an incredibly handsome specimen of Australia’s largest snake, the Scrub Python! These guys generally grow up to 13-15 feet long, but a record female reached 24 feet long! These pythons are also known as Amethystine Pythons, as their scales give off a beautiful purple shimmer when hit correctly by the light.

Photo from Credit to EPA

G’day is still a little shy, but if you’re lucky you’ll get to see this awesome amethyst shine in person when you visit!

Louie, the Alligator Snapping Turtle:

Louie Louie LOUIEEEEEEE! Louie Louie Louie LOU-AAAAH! This awesome new animal came to us all the way from Louisiana, and takes the record for oldest animal at the Reptile Zoo! Louie is, believe it or not, at least a sprightly HUNDRED years old!! Alligator snapping turtles are the biggest freshwater turtles in the world, and Louie is no exception, weighing in at around 170 lbs. You won’t ever find him out of the water, as this species only goes on land to lay eggs, and since Louie is a boy, that isn’t happening any time soon. It’s rare to even see him above water, as he only needs to come up to breathe once every 45 minutes or so.

“Aaah, fresh air!”

Snapping turtles get their name from the way they catch food. They sit perfectly still on the river bottom, mouths open and ready. On the end of their tongue is a little lure that looks just like a worm when they twitch it. Unsuspecting fish, frogs, and even other turtles swim in to nab this tasty treat, and don’t swim back out. The turtle’s jaws snap shut so fast there is no time to react. These guys have been known to straight up snap a broomstick in half in one bite. Don’t be fooled by his awesome camouflage, you can find this guy chilling with Gomer and Pyle in our Alligator Island!

Salk the Crocodile Monitor:

One of the most frequent questions we get here at the Reptile Zoo is “What could give you the worst bite?” The old reigning champs were most likely our American alligators, but they now have to step aside for our new worst biter: Salk the Crocodile Monitor. These fast and long monitors have ridiculous teeth. Unlike other monitors whose teeth are more peglike, these guys have long, extremely sharp fangs for grabbing, ripping, and tearing apart prey. They’ll eat just about anything they can catch.

Photo Cred: Steve Huskey from Western Kentucky University. Look at those pearly whites!

They have specialized aerobic abilities, making it so that they can run faster and longer than other monitors. They are excellent climbers, can stand on their hind legs to look for prey, and can grow as long or longer than a Komodo dragon, though they are much smaller by weight. They are found in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and parts of Indonesia. We’re pumped to have this awesome dude here with us, even if he eats us out of house and home. Don’t be fooled by his size, I saw this guy eat FIVE (seriously, FIVE. How?!) huge chicken breasts in one go!

“Gimme more chicken” -Salk


We’ve got Meller Madness, yes we do! We love chameleons, how about you!? Thanks to these new additions, we’ve more than doubled our number of in-house chameleons!

Meller’s chameleons are the largest species of chameleon from Africa. Our little beauties could eventually grow to be almost three feet long! These cool chameleons can change from white, to yellow, to green, and even brown and any combination thereof to communicate their moods. Since Meller’s chameleons are one of the few social species of chameleon in the world, this comes in handy. If you’re lucky you’ll see these fun and fancy lizards “chatting” to each other by changing color and body posture! This exhibit was generously sponsored by Brian Allen, Exo Terra, California Driftwood, and Kenny the Printer! See if you can spot them all in their free-range exhibit across from Alligator Island!

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North American Reptile Breeder's Conference!

It’s Christmas in September for Prehistoric Pets and the Reptile Zoo! Yes it is that glorious time of year, the NARBC! That’s right, the North American Reptile Breeder’s Conference! We are so excited to be going back to the Anaheim Convention Center this weekend from Sept 6-7th. This conference boasts THOUSANDS of reptiles, or “herps” as we call them. From the most common of geckos to snake morphs selling for over 50,000 DOLLARS, there is something for everyone to see, and we will be right in the thick of it. If you want to see an extremely specific reptile we don’t have at the zoo, this is the best place to do so! Weekend passes for adults are a measly 15 dollars, so make sure you come on by and see us, as well as all the other amazing breeders that make the herp world go round! If you missed it, we had an amazing time on the morning news with KTLA’s field reporter, Jennifer Gould, giving you a sneak peak at what to expect at NARBC!

The star herself! She could work here; she was so good with the animals!

Several dedicated employees managed to rouse themselves to make it to the zoo in time for the first segment of filming, which began at 5am. Despite bleary eyes, everyone had a smile as we interacted with and showed off some of our biggest and best animals. Darthgator and his honorary little brother, Davey, showed off just how massive gators can get and why they are illegal to own. Later our Jurassic Parties animal crew demonstrated the wide variety of animals we use for parties. All of the animals that we use for our Jurassic Parties make fantastic pets for the right owner, and the best way to figure out which reptile works best for you is to come down to the show and interact with as many animals as you can! You never know what you might fall in love with.

Showing off in front of the news van!

Last of all, for our grand finale, we brought out our biggest Tiger Reticulated Python female to showcase what we do best at Prehistoric Pets; breed beautiful, healthy, exotic color morphs of the longest and sometimes largest snakes in the world. Tons of our gorgeous retics will be for sale and featured at our booth at NARBC, so come on down!

Frank, aka Kipling from Disney’s Jessie will be there to take pictures with adoring fans, along with pythons, tortoises, iguanas, anacondas, frogs, and alligators! The fun didn’t end there however!

The next day we drove up to Los Angeles bright and early to show off our beloved herps on Good Day LA with Mar Yvette. Aside from promoting the NARBC, we wanted to take this opportunity to spread our favorite message: That reptiles are nothing to fear and that with knowledge and education, we can all get along. We brought a green anaconda, Asian water monitor, panther chameleon, and Cuban false chameleon, and more. The biggest guest star of all was Sharon Osbourne, who fell in love with our pretty nosy be panther chameleon. Check it out! Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Photo by Dano Photography (

Photo by Dano Photography (

Photo by Dano Photography (

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Meet Lauren

Many of you who visit the reptile zoo start to recognize the familiar faces of our employees, who are generally seen with smiles as they dispense helpful or interesting information. But no smile shines brighter or more beautifully than Lauren’s. This wonderful, compassionate, smart lady is a pillar of intelligence, class, and most importantly, modesty. That is why I, Lauren, have taken it upon myself to let you know just how awesome I am.

(I’ve kissed a celebrity. Love you too Frank xoxo)

All immodest humble-bragging aside, I wanted to let you guys get to know me! These employee bios don’t write themselves, and while it can be weird to try and introduce myself via a blog, I thought I’d give it my best shot. I’m Lauren! I started working at the Reptile Zoo in the summer of 2011, right after my sophomore year of college, as one of the seasonal employees hired to work at the OC fair. I guess they liked me, because the next year when I returned home for the summer they took me on again, this time as both an OC fair and Jurassic Parties employee. I continued to work summers for the zoo as I worked towards my Bachelors, and I’m happy to say that in January 2014 I graduated cum laude from Northeastern University with my shiny new BS in Biology, and a minor in Marine Biology to boot. I’m now working pretty much full time at the zoo, so here’s hoping you guys get to see much more of me!

When not working at the zoo: I like to scuba dive, ride my bike, and work on fun nail art designs.
My favorite foods are: Unfortunately the cheesy-carbohydrate loaded kind.
Hopes goals dreams: Become a vet, and work with animals forever.
Favorite animal at the zoo: Looks wise, I like Lucifer, the albino western diamondback rattlesnake. Personality wise, I love Mr. Spot the rhino iguana. We bonded at the OC Fair this year.
Funniest thing that happened to you here: One time Juliette cornered me at the OC fair with a giant water balloon. I caught it when she threw it and it magically didn’t pop, so she punched it and it soaked me.
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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

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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
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

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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, 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 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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