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Meerkat being observed by visitors

Taronga’s animals are keeping busy these school holidays with a little help from their keepers this winter. 

There’s lots of extra warmth available a visitors to Reptile World will notice in the 28 degree Rain Forest Cone. Reptiles and amphibians, including two new Komodo Dragons, are acting as if it’s summer at Taronga.

Adult Komodo Dragon ‘Tuka’, who has lived at Taronga Zoo for over 20 years, can be seen at the entrance to Reptile World, basking in the warmth of specially-designed heat rocks along the back of his exhibit.

Reptile Keeper, Michael McFadden, said: “Being cold blooded, reptiles need to regulate their body temperature to help metabolise their food. Over the winter months we make sure they have the available warmth needed to keep fit, healthy and active. It’s a great place for keepers and visitors to warm up too!”

Ironically, next door at the Zoo’s breeding unit for endangered Corroboree Frogs, keepers can be seen inside wearing parkas because the frogs like the temperature at about three degrees like their wild habitat under the Kosciusko National Parks’ winter snows.

Meerkats are no stranger to bickering over the best position under their infrared heat lamps and morning sun.  Perfectly adapt to take in the suns rays, their black skinned chest is only sparsely covered with fur, enabling them to absorb as much heat as possible.

Carnivore Supervisor, Louise Ginman, said: “Meerkats are the most political animals our team cares for.  This definitely has an impact on who gets the best sunning spots throughout the day.”

For those who don’t mind to possibly get wet, the seal show at Great Southern Oceans is on at 11am and 2pm each day, and during school holidays an additional training session is held at 1pm.

For more than 20 years visitors have enjoyed watching the graceful seals show off their natural abilities including catching fish, climbing and diving. With the world’s oceans suffering from overfishing to supply the high demand for Seafood, marine wildlife is under threat. The seal presentation demonstrates the simple actions people can take to ensure there is enough food in the sea for generations to come.  

Taronga Zoo is open 9.30-4.30 every day of the July School Holidays.

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