Next week, the large reptiles at the Peoria Zoo will be returned to their newly renovated exhibit and ready for public viewing on May 17th when the Zoo opens at 10 am. During the renovation, which began this February, most of the animals were kept in off-exhibits areas.
The original intent of the remodel was to enlarge the doors which the keepers use to clean the exhibits and care for the animals. However, the Park District saw it as a way to further upgrade the Zoo and put the resources into the project needed for a dramatic overhaul. Doug Holmes, the Zoo’s resident herpetologist, said, “After 25 years of climbing in and out of the smaller doors, it is going to feel strange not having to bend and twist so much. I am also very excited to see the animals in larger and more complex environments.”
The original 5 exhibits have been redesigned into 3 larger exhibits:
• The South American Exhibit will house a pair of red-footed tortoises and 6 male common boa constrictors.
• The Desert Southwest Exhibit will house a gila monster and a bearded lizard: the only two venomous lizard species in the world.
• The Asian Exhibit will house 2 Burmese pythons. The female “Jezabel” weighs over 80 pounds and is over 10 feet long. The male “Spike” is slightly smaller and has been at the Zoo since 1983.
The prehensile-tailed skinks, which were previously housed in the area, have been relocated to the Conservation Center in a new exhibit.
For more information on the new herpetology exhibit, please contact Yvonne Strode at 309-681-3509.