Immerse yourself into the world of reptiles. Watching over you will be a life size pterodactyl that ruled the skies of planet earth 150,000 million years ago. Through large glass panels you can closely view turtles, snakes, and lizards. Hopefully a connection will be made that creates an appreciation for the misunderstood reptiles. You will, however, have to search for many of them. Animals are presented in their natural habitats. You will experience how their camouflage protects them.
Featured is a Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard. In Summer 2017, a flock of Taveta golden weavers will join the Komodo dragon. A male Taveta weaver is bright yellow with greenish wings and tail, and chestnut patches on the nape and chest. The female is yellowish-olive with dusky streaks and pale yellow underparts. It has a yellow stripe above each eye.
Other species to be encountered are a green tree boa, the colorful Thai bamboo racer, a few Amazon milk frogs, the unique hellbender, and a collection of the very colorful green, blue, and yellow poison dart frogs.
Living together in a desert habitat are the Mexican beaded lizard, one of only a few venomous lizards, chuckwalla, and blue spiny lizards. Chuckwalla have an interesting way of coping with the excess salt found in their diet. To help rid the body of excess salt, they “sneeze” salt from their bodies. This is evident by the salty residue often seen around the nostrils. All blue spiny lizards have blue shoulders. Males have a metallic blue-green sheen on the back, chin, throat and belly. Females are usually duller in color.
Our large South American exhibit is a mixed species exhibit where you can see animals living harmoniously from the exhibit floor to the tops of the trees. Currently we have two bird species (blue-gray tanagers and gray-necked wood-rail), one mammal (two-toed sloth), and 3 reptile species (red-footed tortoise, caiman lizard, and basilisk). New in Spring 2017 we will be adding two ringed teals, a small duck of South American forests.
A visitor favorite is our reticulated python. This snake can reach thirty feet in length. In 2016, our python measured 17 feet! The name reticulated refers the complex color pattern of the snakes scales.
Also to be found are nine inch stick insects. You will have to be a good observer. They have excellent disguise camouflage.
The exhibits have extensive graphics and there are educational panels about New Jersey’s endangered reptiles and amphibians and the recent extinction of some species. Visitors can learn animal facts using interactive educational flip panes. Take time to closely examine the crocodilian and Komodo dragon skulls and snake skeleton.