London Zoo is about to open a new building, focused on reptiles and amphibians, and will offer a glimpse into the Zoo’s breeding and animal care areas, with the ‘behind-the-scenes’ bought to the fore in the new space.

Artist sketch of the new building (c) planning docs/ London Zoo

The new home replaces the Zoo’s historic reptile house, which was built in 1926, but no longer fit for modern conservation work. The replacement building is itself a reminder of changing attitudes, as it sits on a spot that was once used for Chimpanzees’ tea party — which is not at all suitable for more enlightened times.

The new home for some of the planet’s most fascinating yet threatened species – including one of the world’s largest frogs, jewel-coloured geckos, and turtles with heads so big they cannot fit in their shells – Secret Life of Reptiles and Amphibians will introduce London Zoo’s visitors to wondrously weird creatures.

Visitors will come nose-to-nose with one of the world’s largest and most threatened frogs – as the breeding group of Critically Endangered mountain chicken frogs at London Zoo will be visible for the first time. The enormous frogs were once widespread across the Caribbean until a killer fungus was introduced to their habitat. A mass mortality event in the early 2000s was discovered – by a team including a ZSL scientist – to have been caused by chytrid fungus, which wiped out more than 90% of their population.

In 2009, conservationists from London Zoo and other zoos airlifted the last few mountain chicken frogs to safety in a last-ditch attempt to save the species from extinction, a special unit was built and a breeding programme for the animals was established – but until now both the frogs and the incredible work being done behind the scenes to save them has been unseen by the conservation Zoo’s visitors.

The new building features 11 different climate-controlled zones, more than 50 aquatic systems, and the Zoo’s specialist horticulture team have carefully planted each habitat to provide shade, egg laying sites, basking locations and camouflage areas for the very particular residents.

The Secret Life of Reptiles and Amphibians will open for the Easter weekend and will be included in the standard zoo entry. You can buy tickets on the day, but booking online and skipping the queue is quicker.

If you’re a massive Harry Potter fan though, this means the old reptile house, which featured in the first movie is no longer on your tour itiniary.


Be the first to know what's on in London, and the latest news published on ianVisits.

You can unsubscribe at any time from my weekly emails.

Tagged with:

This website has been running now for over a decade, and while advertising revenue contributes to funding the website, it doesn't cover the costs. That is why I have set up a facility with DonorBox where you can contribute to the costs of the website and time invested in writing and research for the news articles.

It's very similar to the way The Guardian and many smaller websites are now seeking to generate an income in the face of rising costs and declining advertising.

Whether it's a one-off donation or a regular giver, every additional support goes a long way to covering the running costs of this website, and keeping you regularly topped up doses of Londony news and facts.

If you like what you read on here, then please support the website here.

Thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Home >> News >> London Ticket Alert