Rearing a gentle giant

Rearing a gentle giant

#Taronga Zoo Sydney

Posted on 14th April 2014 by Media Relations

It has been another busy few weeks in Taronga’s Herpetofauna department, with the acquisition of some very new animals, enrichment feeds to some very old animals, and the handling and conditioning of a very snappy animal!

We have recently acquired a breeding trio of Red-Barred Dragons, a brightly-coloured dragon lizard endemic to the rocky outcrops and ranges of central South Australia.

As with many Australian dragon species, it is the male Red-Barred Dragon which attains the bright blue colouration and red flushes down his flanks – something definitely worth a visit to Taronga's Reptile World to see.

Two of our tortoise species, the Asian Brown Tortoise and the huge Aldabran Tortoise, have been dining on some fresh, sweet mulberry branches and leaves.

We mix up the diet of these herbivorous tortoises to offer them a wide variety of feed options.

It’s important for us to offer the mulberry and other browse to these tortoises to allow them to exhibit natural feeding behaviours, like craning up and browsing from low-hanging vegetation overhead.

Amethystine, or scrub pythons, are Australia’s largest snake species – with large ones exceeding seven metres in length!

Despite having no venom, these pythons are notorious for their rather difficult reputation. Our young scrubbie is no exception, however with our current conditioning program, keepers are regularly handling the little python, with the aim of rearing a gentle giant, without the giant attitude!

- Keeper, Chris Dryburgh