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 http://www.wettropics.gov.au/reptiles 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!