Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day Trip to Reptile Zoo

Summer feels like it is quickly drawing to a close and it feels like Jeff and I are scrambling to spend some quality time together since the bathroom reno threw the beginning off quite a bit. One of the things we wanted to do this summer was re-visit the Indian River Reptile Zoo.

We had visited the Indian River Reptile Zoo a few years after it opened and have read there were numerous additions since then. The reptile zoo is east of Peterborough on highway #7. They have over 200 reptiles on display including snakes, turtles, lizards, one alligator, and one crocodile. They are Canada's only accredited reptile zoo and also house Canada's largest exhibit of rattlesnakes.

One of the first things we saw was their miniature version of Stonehenge, visible from the parking lot. You could walk up to them and sit on some of rocks but I chose the from the parking lot perspective. It's pretty (and sparkly) but I came for reptiles!

Jeff paid our entry fee ($10 each for adults ) while I looked around the gift shop which was full of stuffed animals, candles, and other items the zoo uses for fund raising. We learned from the cashier that there was going to be a presentation at the new barn in fifteen minutes so after a quick potty break we headed out the back and over to the barn.

Just outside the barn were some foot high enclosures where we got a good look at the African Spurred Tortoise... or the Red Footed Tortoise. We couldn't really tell them apart. This little guy was sharing the enclosure with at least ten other ones all roughly the size of the palm of my hand. It was really cool to be able to hover over them.

The presentation was orated by Lacey who has been with the reptile zoo for three and half years. She provided an introduction to reptiles with the help of Sheila the Lizard, Speedy the Turtle, and Friendly the Python.

Yep! I petted friendly. And Jeff took this flattering photo of me doing:

Here's a video blurb of Lacey introducing us to friendly:

After the presentation we left the barn and visited a few of the tortoises who live in an outside pen. They were surprisingly speedy! As you can see from this video:

They have beautiful shells:

Here's a close-up of the Alligator in his indoor habitat. You could never get this close to one in the wild. Even though there was glass between us I still had a heebie jeebie racing around my back. After I took this picture he winked at me. Ok, he didn't wink, he closed one eye. I went around to the other side and his other eye was open. I purposefully didn't use flash but I think he might have thought one was coming.

The crocodile was either in or he was out and both times he wasn't up for having his picture taken but he does have an awesome backside. The tip of his nose is out of the water toward the outdoor exit. We couldn't decide if he was catching some of the breeze or not.

On the way out we noticed one of the staff crawling in the back window to clean the alligator's pen (we had wondered earlier why there was no water). What a creepy job that would be. You'll notice that he keeps the garbage can between him and the alligator. We were told that this alligator is pretty sulky when people are in his enclosure and there's never been a problem. He tends to move to the opposite end. The crocodile is a little more aggressive with his space so they always have two people clean -- one always on look out.

Overall, we both had a great time and will definitely go back again in the future. If it was closer (we had to drive 1 1/2 hours to get there) we'd probably go more often and take guests when they came to visit. We have a nephew who is totally in love with reptiles who would love this. We'd like to go back again when it is cooler (and my ankle is better) and walk the nature trail.

Topic Links
* Visit the Reptile Zoo online


CherylK said...

Ack!!! That crocodile jaw is pretty scary looking! I love stuff like this, though.