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Raising Reptiles and Amphibians

A variety of reptiles and amphibians has hatched or been born at the Zoo, including critically endangered Panamanian golden frogs, Everglades ratsnakes, and Oriental fire-bellied toads.

Young leopard tortoise feeding Feeding hatchlings and newborns is one of our major challenges. Amphibians may require crickets the size of pinheads. Reptiles with finicky appetites may need to be coaxed into eating.

This may require a choice of foods and, sometimes, patient hand-feeding.

Dragons Hatch in the Zoo

Komodo dragon hatchling In 1992, when Komodo dragons hatched here, the National Zoo was the first place outside Indonesia to breed this giant lizard.

Since then, we and other zoos, all participating in a cooperative breeding program, have produced more than 80 offspring that live in zoos worldwide.
more about the Komodo dragon

Eggs: Reptile or Amphibian?

It makes a difference in the way we care for the eggs.

Amphibian eggs

Red-eyed
tree frog eggs

Amphibian eggs have no shells and must be kept in water or in wet conditions.

Reptile egg

Red-footed tortoise egg

Reptile eggs have hard or leathery shells and must be kept in warm, humid conditions.

 

Eggs: Boy or Girl?

Incubation temperature determines the sex for reptiles like crocodilians and some turtles.

For example, at 90.5°F (32.5°C), Cuban crocodile eggs will hatch mostly males. Higher or lower temperatures produce mostly females.

Outside incubator

The incubator keeps our reptile eggs warm.

Open the incubator door.

African pancake tortoise
African pancake tortoise
Malacochersus tornieri
Aldabra tortoise
Aldabra tortoise
Geochelone gigantea
Alligator snapping turtle
Alligator snapping turtle
Macroclemys temminckii
Australian snake-necked turtle
Australian snake-necked turtle
Chelodina longicollis
Black ratsnake
Black ratsnake
Elaphe obsoleta (obsoleta)
Boa constrictor
Boa constrictor
Boa constrictor
Brazilian rainbow boa
Brazilian rainbow boa
Epicrates cenchria (cenchria)
Burmese python
Burmese python
Python molurus (bivittatus)
Cottonmouth
Cottonmouth
Agkistrodon piscivorus
Cuban crocodile
Cuban crocodile
Crocodylus rhombifer
Eastern box turtle
Eastern box turtle
Terrapene carolina
Emerald tree boa
Emerald tree boa
Corallus caninus
Emperor newt
Emperor newt
Tylototriton shanjing
European glass lizard
European glass lizard
Ophisaurus apodus
Everglades ratsnake
Everglades ratsnake
Elaphe obsoleta rossalleni
Eyelash palm pitviper
Eyelash palm pitviper
Bothriechis schlegelii
Florida softshell turtle
Florida softshell turtle
Apalone ferox
Gaboon viper
Gaboon viper
Bitis gabonica
Gharial (Gavial)
Gharial (Gavial)
Gavialus gangeticus
Gila monster
Gila monster
Heloderma suspectum
Grand Cayman iguana
Grand Cayman iguana
Cyclura lewisi
Greater siren
Greater siren
Siren lacertina
Green anaconda
Green anaconda
Eunectes murinus
Green iguana
Green iguana
Iguana iguana
Green tree python
Green tree python
Morelia viridis
Inland bearded dragon
Inland bearded dragon
Pogona vitticeps
King cobra
King cobra
Ophiophagus hannah
Leopard gecko
Leopard gecko
Eublepharis macularius
Mangrove snake
Mangrove snake
Boiga dendrophila
Matamata turtle
Matamata turtle
Chelus fimbriatus
Northern blue-tongued skink
Northern blue-tongued skink
Tiliqua scincoides
Northern pine snake
Northern pine snake
Pituophis melanoleucus
Oriental fire-bellied toad
Oriental fire-bellied toad
Bombina orientalis
Red-tailed ratsnake
Red-tailed ratsnake
Gonyosoma oxycephala
Timber rattlesnake
Timber rattlesnake
Crotalus horridus
Tokay gecko
Tokay gecko
Gekko gecko
Veiled chameleon
Veiled chameleon
Chamaeleo calyptratus
White's tree frog
White's tree frog
Pelodryas caerulea
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Snake Habitat
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Lizard Defense
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Snake Skin
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Reptile Diet
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Crocodilian
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Reptile Moves
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Gharial Conservation
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Zoo Breeding
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Crocodile Conservation
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Reptile Vision
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Boas
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Iguana Conservation
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Constriction
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Reptile Conservation
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Venom
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Turtle Conservation
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Amphibian Conservation
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Aldabra Tortoise
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Water Quality
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Quiz

 

Squares link to animal fun facts.
Question marks link to more on reptiles and amphibians.