Reptile collection is under the care of Herpetologist Leslie
Brown , assisted by Reptile Keeper, Tracey Mitchell
. Les has been employed by the Society for over 25 years, and Tracey
over 10. Both worked closely with previous Zoo Director, Richard
O'Grady . There is strong support for the reptile collection
from most members of the Zoo Council, and all of the Executive Committee.
Dave Blatchford is a member of the Council.
facilities are extensive with good back-up, off-exhibit resources,
though sadly, sorely in need of maintenance, which financial constraints
have forced upon us in recent years.
bulk of the reptile collection is accommodated in a Tropical
House , approximately 60 metres by 35 metres in area, with
glass-fronted enclosures, serviced from the rear, overlooking a
central, un-heated planted area. The steel structure of the building
was second-hand when it was erected in 1969, though new cladding
and brickwork gave it the appearance of being brand new. The main
administrative office block of three offices and a staff toilet
surmount a wide entrance porch, through which visitors must pass.
passing through this entrance, one immediately encounters a glass
cube, 2 metres square and three metres in height with a floor approximately
1.2 metres above the ground.
Behind the cube is a semi-circular enclosure with a 5 metre frontage
and 3.5 metre depth.
Ranged down the right hand side are six enclosures each 3.5 by 2
metres in area, and a further six at 1.2 by 1.2 metres in area.
The first has been converted to a glass-fronted incubator room.
Heating on this side is provided by a Powermatic , oil-fired,
hot air burner, with a temperature gradient hottest in the incubator
room, then dropping slightly as further away from the heater you
go. So, supplementary heating is provided by suspended heat-lamps
and the incubators are individually electrically heated. There are
three other large, rectangular enclosures in the central area, grouped
next to the main semi-circular enclosure.
enclosures arranged down the left-hand side of the Tropical
House are large, ranging from 3 by 2 metres to 6 by 3 metres
in area, and are heated by a combination of underfloor electrical
heating and heat-lamps. Several are in need of roof maintenance,
unfortunately, as water penetrates in heavy rain.
first evolved 280 million years ago. Many types, including the dinosaurs
died out. Four orders survive today and are described here:
reptiles lack a physical mechanism to control body temperature against
environment changes, so they occur in predominantly tropical climates.
They all have waterproof skin, which is covered in scales, the outer
part of these being shed in parts or as one piece when the animal
literally grows too big for its skin.
the large hall of the Tropical House are free-flying birds of various
types who choose to live communally, and feed together:
we see 2 male cockatiels and 1 female, and 1 peach-faced lovebird
in the background. Budgies; a Lutino (yellow) cock, cobalt (blue
and white) Australian banded pied cock, a light green (green and
yellow Australian banded pied cock, and in the middle a grey-green
cock. Photos by Andy Smyth, Photographer. ©
may also encounter parrotlets which free-fly in the Tropical House