Animal Diaries Archive
26 January 2007
We thought it wouldn't happen this year, but summer is finally heating right up. We've had an average temperature of 35 degrees all week. As you know, our reptiles are ectotherms, which means they can't regulate their own body temperature so they need a little help from the sun. Summer is when reptiles are most active, but you may not realise that it can get too hot for them sometimes. Reptiles are most active in the morning, afternoon and even at night but the middle of the day is just plain too hot!
Our reptiles have a number of ways of keeping cool in the heat of the day. The water dragons can be found in just about every water hole in the Zoo, sometimes in huge numbers. Fatboy, one of our Komodo Dragons, likes to keep cool on the grass under his rocky overhang while next door Mr Mert, our Merten's Water Monitor, lies flat out in his waterfall. You can also find Smiley the Lace Monitor lying in the shade next to his pond and Rhino the Rhinoceros Iguana doing the same. Goliath and Igloo, our Aldabran Tortoise brothers, love nothing more than a wallow in their muddy sinkhole. They have a very shady clear pond to swim in too, but prefer lying in the mud close to the fence so they can see all the action. They also enjoy a hose-down from one of our keepers. We often hose the dried mud off the tortoises to allow them to cool more effectively. Our tortoises also have caves to sleep in which are always at an optimum temperature, but they much prefer to be out and about watching all the goings-on.
Our snakes on display are the luckiest of all, however. Their enclosures are able to be controlled so the temperature is always very comfortable. If you plan on coming to the Zoo in the hot months, remember to drink lots of water, bring a hat and wear some sunscreen so you can stay cool like our very cool reptiles.