Wild on WANE: Outback Reptiles

In the newly-renovated Outback at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, you’ll find a brand new reptile house. This exhibit is home to five different types of cold-blooded creatures native to the Land Down Under.

In the exhibit, you can meet Ace, a Blue-Tongued Skink. These are one of the largest skinks in the wild. The blue tongue can actually startle and scare away potential predators. Blue-Tongued Skinks are common in Australia and often live in people’s backyards eating bugs, slugs, and insects. They also have a reputation for stealing dog food. Here at the zoo, Ace is fed veggies, crickets, meal-worms, and pinky mice three times a week.

Next is Wilma the Woma Python. These snakes grow to be around 4.5 feet long and usually shelter in hollow logs and debris. They’re very active and when traveling on hot sand, they lift up their bodies and lunge forward so only a few inches of them are touching the ground at a given time. Wilma is not poisonous and likes to eat small rats and mammals at the zoo. Woma pythons, like Wilma, are endangered due to habitat destruction.

The exhibit is also home to Mongai, a Carpet Python. These snakes can grow to be up to 13 feet long and typically eat rodents, birds, and lizards. They coil around pray to suffocate them and then swallow them whole. Their diamond-shaped pattern helps them camouflage in the trees and bushes of Australia.

Johanna and Menard are a pair of Black-Tailed Monitors. They like to hide in the tree barks in their exhibit. They’ve got long nails that are used to help them scurry, claw, and climb in the wild. Their diet typically consists of crickets and tiny mice.

Apollo and Athena, two knob-tailed geckos, are also in the new reptile exhibit. These nocturnal little lizards only grow to be about 4-5” long.

They have a carrot-shaped part at the end of their tail. If they’re getting tracked by a predator, they’ll actually lose that tail as part of a defense mechanism. But don’t worry – they can grow that tail back in just a few months!

Wild on WANE airs each Thursday on First News and First At 5, and each weekend on First News Saturday.

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