Dotted amongst our larger crocodilian displays, you can see Asian Water Monitors, Crocodile Monitors, Lace Monitors, and Merten’s Water Monitors. The monitor lizards – known as ‘goannas’ in Australia, which is home to many of the world’s monitor species – are some of the largest reptiles around. These intelligent lizards have large forked tongues similar to the snakes, used to ‘taste/smell’ the air to help them locate food. They also possess a sharp set of claws, serrated teeth, and tail that can be used as a whip. So, these guys have great self-defence!
Other lizards include the dinosaur-looking green iguanas, basilisks, and the large caiman lizards. All these guys are from South or Central America. The caiman lizards are experts at crushing their favourite food, snails. Basilisks have earned the moniker ‘Jesus Christ Lizard’ due to their ability to ‘run’ across water when disturbed. They can run about 5 feet per second across the surface.
Of course, we house some beautiful snakes. On display right now are our two female Reticulated Pythons. The largest is 4.7m (15.4 ft) long. These snakes are the longest snake species in the world, and can attain truly giant sizes in excess of 19-20 feet. Our daily snake talks feature our extremely friendly Royal Pythons or Corn Snakes.
Within many of the ponds, you can see various turtle species. Turtles live quite naturally with crocodiles, and we have no need to worry that the crocodiles will eat these guys!
Our huge Sulcata Tortoise group spend much of the warmer days grazing their paddock. During the cold winter days, they are often in their warm house. These are the 3rd largest tortoise species, and can attain weights of 100 kg. These huge, long-lived tortoises are strict herbivores, eating high fibre and low protein grasses, weeds and flowers.
Housed with some of our iguanas, we have some Red-Footed Tortoises. These forest-dwelling tortoises are again herbivorous animals and love the humid environment provided within the iguana enclosure.
|Green tree monitor
|Mertens’s water monitor
|Alligator snapping turtle
|Hilaire’s side-necked turtle
||Trachemys scripta scripta
|African spurred tortoise