Adventures in Biopod

Here at The Reptile Zoo we love our animals and are always looking for better ways to care for these amazing creatures. So when Biopod, which was born on Kickstarter then designed and developed over the past 3 years, invited us out to their headquarters we were immediately on board. On arrival, we met not only the awesome Biopod team but also fellow keepers and enthusiasts from both the US and Canada including (L-R) Dayyan of Reptiliatus, Keith of ReptilesRuS, and Paul of Vivariums in the Mist.

Entering the Calgary headquarters, I was immediately inspired by the variety of beautifully scaped Biopods. These incredible works of art looked so perfect I didn't think there was any way I could build something close, but the team assured me this was one of the great benefits of the Biopod design. I quickly learned the Biopod team has carefully considered every aspect of the design and maintenance of their micro-habitats to make it as user-friendly as possible. One area of the facility is dedicated to the original Kickstarter Biopods which have been functioning with little to no maintenance for over 2 years and are still thriving and as beautiful as ever.


Still I wasn't fully convinced with my minimal background in full vivarium design would be enough. Co-Founder Tom Lam and engineer Dr. Apple walked us through the mechanical design of the current iteration of the Biopod literally piece by piece showing where improvements have been during the last few years of development. The beauty of the Biopod is it's all-in-one capability. The system brings together state of the art misting, filtration, heating, lighting, aeration, irrigation, and ventilation everything needed to mimic the most naturalistic habitat possible. Not only do these aspects work in unison, but Biopod has taken precise control to the cloud allowing you to monitor and alter your environment from anywhere.


Armed with this knowledge, and a more than capable partner Keith, I was ready to take the plunge and start designing my first Biopod. Keith and I decided we would take an animal centric design approach starting first by selecting species, then designing the ideal Biopod to meet their needs. Immediately our thoughts went to our shared love of geckos, then inspired by the desert scape created by Biopod co-founder Jared Wolfe we settled in on the idea of designing our Terra, which is about equal in size to a 20gl tank, for a gecko in the Nephrurus species.


Now that we had a species and it's unique care requirements in mind we headed out to gather the substrate, accessories, and decor that would make up our final design. This had to be the most difficult aspect because there were just so many directions we could go. We ended up completely filling a cart with Zoo Med Excavator Sand, loose sand, several sizes and colors of pebbles, a few beautiful pieces of wood, cork bark, leaf litter, and hides we would later use to build up and add dimension.


Once back at headquarters we had the opportunity to shop in the Biopod nursery full of unique plants from around the globe and various climates. Again, faced with what seemed like limitless possibilities we grabbed a few of our favorites and started getting our hands dirty. Part of Biopod's incredible design is the ability to completely control every aspect of the cage environment which Keith and I took advantage of by coiling the modular heating element and assorted cables in our desired areas which would later be built up with basking and hiding spots. Next, we started on the irrigated living wall by tightly stuffing with sphagnum moss and laying our first level of gravel to allow for a water table at the base. It was at this moment I knew we were on track for something cool because these simple elements, when combined with the sleek design of the Biopod, was already developing into a beautiful display.


Encouraged and excited we started to bring the Biopod to life carefully placing and pinning a variety of climbing plants that will continue to fill and grow as time passes. Once complete we moved onto our most exciting layer of substrate, the Zoo Med excavator sand, first placing a layer of mesh to protect the water table level, then developing high and low spots as well as areas for our soon to be added plants. We had to work quickly and precisely building from the outsides to center which we would later layer with a smooth sand where the geckos could enjoy their natural burrowing. We built on and around wooden elements creating a layered look which doubled as hiding areas throughout the temperature gradients within the habitat. From the base, we then added mainly succulent varieties in our carefully tucked away pockets placed in areas that could easily enjoy the regularly scheduling misting. Just a few finishing pebbles for texture and visual variety and like that Team Terra had done it! It was such a rewarding experience to see our final piece complete and ready for a little critter to call it home.



The most amazing part of this experience was that while Keith and I were enjoying scaping what we coined The Red Planet; for a desert species Paul and Dayyan were building one of the most beautiful paludariums I've ever seen in the Aqua Biopod. Our designs couldn't have been more different, but that's the beauty of the Biopod. It is completely customizable for desert, tropical, aquatic, even for growing your own groceries with sizes available from the Eden to Grand.


After such an incredible experience, it was hard to leave our Terra behind, but even when I'm back in the sates my Biopod is never that far away. At any moment, I can check in on how our little scape is doing by logging into the Biopod app to check temperature, humidity, and even watch a live webcam!


With the US launch of Biopod slated for later this fall here at The Reptile Zoo our minds are spinning at the variety of habitats we can add on display for our guests. What species would you like to see in our Biopod? New amphibians, geckos, aquatics, an amazing arachnid exhibit? What would be your dream Biopod? In the not so distant future we’ll have a chance to make these dreams a reality and we're positively excited for the possibilities!


Wanna learn more? Check out this awesome video from our buddy Dayyan at Reptiliatus, go ahead and give him a sub while you're there you won't regret it!


Video Link


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Spooky Scary Slithery Scaley COUNTDOWN

Its officially October, and you know what that means! Halloween is just around the corner! So for the whole month of October, we will be counting down the scariest, spookiest, downright most terrifying animals at the zoo!! We’ll begin the countdown with our scariest snakes!

Each of our scariest snakes are scary in different ways! Be it by name, by venom, by size, or by bite, all of these competitors make visitors (and some of our handlers!) quiver in fear!

First off is our scariest named snake, the Black Blood Python. Conjuring up imagery of witchcraft, dark nights, and spooky bubbling potions, the black blood python isn’t a snake to take lightly either! They are thick bodied and powerful strikers, and while they only grow about six feet long, they can weigh up to 20 pounds!

The thing that strikes fear into the employees hearts though when it comes to the black blood is unusual. These snakes have a habit of retaining their waste for a long period of time, sometimes over 6 months. The resulting explosion when they finally do pass waste is enough to bring any prehistoric employee to their knees.

Our most scary venomous snake is also one of our most beautiful. The Mojave Green rattlesnake is the color of any self-respecting witch’s brew, but also packs the most powerful venomous punch of any of our rattlesnakes.

Its venom is a potent potion containing both neurotoxic and hemotoxic enzymes. The neurotoxins affect breathing and nerve function, while the hemotoxic venom causes severe bleeding. While he’s not our biggest, he’s certainly our baddest!

While we know them as our gentle giants, our big female reticulated pythons certainly scare some of our visitors! We’ve had people come to the zoo that couldn’t stand to look at them, let alone walk past them, due to some intense snake-phobia. Their size certainly does wow!

The power behind their strikes is nothing to ignore, and their teeth are triangle shaped and blade like on the backs, making a bite more like a slash from a scalpel rather than a few punctures. That being said, it takes more than that to scare Jay!

Last but not least, the snake here with the scariest teeth! While the rattlesnakes have their hollow fangs, most people at least know to steer clear! The emerald tree boa however is sneaky. While relatively unassuming, this snake packs the biggest teeth of any non-venomous snake.

Designed to snatch birds out of midair, their front fangs are generally around an inch long and capable of delivering some serious damage! Steer clear of this scaly green spook and you should be just fine.

Join us next week as we count down the scariest lizards here at the zoo!!!

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Take a Peek Into Prehistoric with Periscope!!

Here at the Reptile Zoo and Prehistoric Pets, we do have a fondness for animals that haven’t changed much since the age of the dinosaurs. The same doesn’t hold true for technology though! We’ve been working lately on updating all of our tech! We have swanky new computers and registers, we’ve upped our printer and camera game, but most of all we’re trying to get on board with all the latest apps and social media! Savannah, our intrepid social media savant, has taken our Instagram and Facebook pages to new heights, but we’re experimenting with and are very excited about our latest social media platform, Periscope!

For those of you unfamiliar with Periscope, it is an app developed by Twitter that allows us to live stream video content right here at the zoo! We’ve already used it to live stream videos of Jay cutting a brand new clutch of baby reticulated pythons, but as we gain a following on the app, we hope to branch out into filming our awesome animal’s behavior to share our zoo all over the world!

You can comment in real time to chat to us while we stream as well! The best part is, if you enjoyed a particular stream, it will be available to re-watch on our profile at any time. If you like a video or stream too, you can tap the screen on your phone or tablet to give us hearts, boosting our profile and increasing our audience.

If you prefer to kick it old-school and can’t figure out this new-fangled technology, we have an option for you as well! Prehistoric has been doing all kinds of meet ups lately. Just before the North American Reptile Breeder’s Conference (NARBC), we hosted all kinds of folks here for an informal, pre-convention get together, including star guests like Bryan Barczyk from SnakeBytes TV!

We aim to have at least one meetup a month. If you’re interested, follow us on facebook at The Reptile Zoo or Prehistoric Pets to find out when our next event will be. You never know what kind of crazy fun we’ll have next!

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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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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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You're Invited to The Reptile Zoo Masquerade 2012


Get your costume ready, because you're invited to our second annual family friendly Spooky Reptilian Masquerade Sunday, October 28 from 5-10 PM at The Reptile Zoo in Fountain Valley, a hands-on educational experience with over 100 exotic reptile displays.

This year's benefit recipients The Reptile Zoo and Forever Wild are dedicated to educating the public and providing homes for exotic pets of all sizes. At the event you can meet the founders of these organizations as well enjoy special exotic animal exhibits including Zorro the Black Leopard, Thelma and Louise the two-headed snake, a cobra, and more!

Enjoy a night of fun for the whole family including games, raffles, and even a costume contest where you could win a lifetime membership to The Reptile Zoo! If that's not enough we will have food trucks, exotic reptile demonstrations, and live filming for You Tube. Mingle with special celebrity guests including Frank the 6 foot Asian Water Monitor best known for his role as Kipling on Disney Channel's hit show JESSIE as well as his trainer and veteran exotic animal handler Jules Sylvester.

With a guest list over 300 last year we are hoping to make this event even better and we hope to enjoy all the night has to offer with you and your family! The event will be free with regular admission to The Reptile Zoo ($10 for adults, $5 for children). Hope to see you there! Make sure to RSVP here and you could win our daily RSVP VIP giveaway all counting down to The Reptile Zoo Masquerade on October 28th from 5-10 PM!

The night's entertainment, prizes, and food provided by:

The Reptile Zoo

Forever Wild

Kogi BBQ Truck

Chunk-n-Chip Gourmet Ice Cream Sandwhiches

Prehistoric Pets

Jules Sylvester

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TON of Fun on Good Day LA for NARBC

Here comes trouble! Anyone recognize the face in this picture?

 It's Ton Jones star of SPIKE's Auction Hunters and a longtime friend of Prehistoric Pets! This weekend he is joining us in promoting our local North American Reptile Breeders Conference at the Anaheim Convention Center. We started the week with a great segment on Good Day LA and couldn't help but share some photos from behind the scenes.

A natural in front of the cameras Ton patiently showed the sometimes anxious hosts a variety of animals provided by The Reptile Zoo including our newest addition an Australian Black Head Python, Thelma & Louise the Two-Headed Snake and of course some great reptile pets like Bearded Dragons and Crested Geckos.

After the show Prehistoric Pets sales manager Garrett Hartle and Ton couldn't help but take the photo opp with Gomer one of our smaller American Alligators before heading back to The Reptile Zoo to finish packing and prepping for our booth at this weekend's event.

We are excited to see who shows up to visit the Prehistoric Pets booth at NARBC this weekend (we've heard its a reptile loving celebrity hotspot!) To find out more information about how you can attend the show be sure to visit

North American Reptile Breeders Conference - Anaheim

Sept 15-16, 2012

Sat 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM 
Sun 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM


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Open Day at The Reptile Room 2012

What a weekend! We had so much fun meeting everyone at The Reptile Room for their open house. We'll write more about it later but we wanted to share some of the great photos taken by visitors to the event!

If you're in Europe and you missed your chance to meet Jay of check out the Prehistoric Pets stock available through The Reptile Room you still have a chance. This weekend the team will be at Terraristika in Hamm, Germany and next weekend you can find them at Exotic Forum just outside Madrid, Spain where Jay will be a featured speaker with Mark O'Shea!

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Celebrate Summer with Jurassic Parties Schools Out Chill Out Giveaway

Here at The Reptile Zoo our jurassic party animals are totally cold blooded so when the temperature outside goes up they have to find creative ways to cool down. Since our fans are all pretty cool Southern California residents our prehistoric pets want to see your favorite ways to beat the heat. Share a photo of how you plan to chill out this summer on the Jurassic Parties Facebook Fan Page then enter to win a pair of tickets to Frozen Planet in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl for Saturday, July 7th at 8pm.

Following the success of Planet Earth Live, the world premiere of Frozen Planet in Concert comes to the Bowl’s big screen in the latest co-production of the BBC and Discovery Channel. The ultimate portrait of Earth’s last great wilderness, the Polar Regions, will be presented with stunning imagery with live orchestral accompaniment by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conducted by composer George Fenton.

Frozen Planet in Concert presented by the LA PHIL will only be in concert at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday and Saturday July 6-7 at 8pm and it is sure to be an event you will not want to miss. For tickets and information, visit

Jurassic Parties Schools Out Chill Out winner will be randomly chosen to receive two (2) tickets for Saturday July 7 at 8 PM to Frozen Planet Live in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl. To be eligible to win entrants must be a fan of Jurassic Parties at and complete the contest form at

Skinks for Sale!

We've recently celebrated the births of 14 Blue Tongue Skinks. They're cute, they're scaly, and they're so gosh darn little! But what exactly IS a Blue Tongue Skink? 

Their most obvious characteristic is their name which comes from their tongue; it is indeed blue. Whoever first discovered this species decided to keep it simple with its name!

In recent years, this lizard has become a common pet among reptile enthusiasts. They stay relatively small, only growing up to about 2 feet in length usually. We're fans of this species too as they are quirky enough to fit in with our other critters, but unique enough to stand out as a favorite among staff and guests alike.

In the wild, they spend their days eating diets of insects, snails, wild berries, and sometimes even wildflowers. Night is spent seeking shelter in hollowed out logs and other debris where they aren't very likely to be discovered an eaten as a midnight snack.

Supposedly, these creatures are shy, but ours are far from it! In fact, we have a team of them that love being in the spotlight at our Jurassic Parties. Several more soak up the attention in The Reptile Zoo.

As you can see, the Blue Tongue Skink isn't exactly built for speed. Its legs are stubby, and definitely not meant for running or climbing. Still, when it comes time to eat or make a run for it, they can perform the task with surprising agility. Since they call Australia home, it's not a stretch to assume they call on this agility quite often with so many deadly predators lurking about.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about them is that they give birth to live young. Baby Blue Tongue Skinks will develop in embryos inside of their mother and when they are fully developed after about 100 days, they emerge in litters of up to 15! For the first few days of their life, the babies will live off of their embryo which they absorb into their stomachs before birth, then they start off on smaller insects. Much like human babies, they ease their way into devouring adult foods!

Our little ones are ready to take on the world; some of them are for sale in Prehistoric Pets. They grow up so quickly!

If you need a new lizard for your collection, come check them out!

Here's a video to help you do some preliminary research...or just learn more about these little guys.

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