Philip and the National Reptile Zoo

With St Patrick’s Day nearing, I though I would share a reptile-related post, just to be fair to the expelled snakes and to let you know that some of them have repatriated back to Ireland.

This is my beautiful green buddy Philip. He hatched out in the end of 2007, and this picture was taken in 2010. He is a Water Dragon.

Shortly after he was adopted, his parents went for holidays and left him with me. He was as big as a pencil. Every morning he would stand on his hind legs in his terrarium and look at me. He knew the ritual. I would pick him up, hold him to my face, and go to bed again for another ten minutes, talking to him and kissing his little head. Then he would go back to his terrarium until evening.

He was a different shade of green at that time.

I didn’t see him for another few years. Things happen, and in 2013 Philip’s parents separated. He was 6 year old, about 3 feet long, and lived in a 5 x 9 feet terrarium by then. There was no one ready to commit to having him. They had to make a heartbreaking decision to give Philip away. The only reasonable place for him to stay would be a zoo, but first he had to endure a 6 month long quarantine in the Reptile Village in Gowran, Co Kilkenny. Herpetologist and Director of the Reptile Village James Hennessy picked him up. He said that they already had a male Water Dragon, but the Dublin Zoo would be happy to take Philip.

When I came to visit him after a week, he looked scared. On the top of his terrarium there was another glass cage with a dying female of the same species. This was the place where people dumped their reptiles when they could not cope with them anymore.  A lesson for those who decide to buy a reptile just ‘ because. it is cute’. I left in tears.

To make a long story short, Philip is alive in the Dublin Zoo. At least he was when I talked with Mr. Hennessy over the phone in 2015.

I revisited the Reptile Village in December. Now it is called The National Reptile Zoo, it has expanded since 2013, and it is amazing.

These Green Iguanas, and some other reptiles live in a separate Tropical Walk-Through Dome outside the main building. The dome is 6 m in diameter and over 3 m high.

National Reptile Zoo

Isn’t it sweet that you can touch a lizard. I don’t know if they exactly enjoy this, but the visitors definitely love the experience 🙂

National Reptiie Zoo

Waking up after a nap 🙂

National Reptile Zoo

First things first 🙂

National Reptile Zoo

Sun basking is another favorite activity of Iguanas. It is hot and humid inside the dome, and the live plants make it look like jungle. The lizards and tortoises roam free and feel home.

National Reptile Zoo

National Reptile Zoo

Rhinoceros Iguana in the main building loves his veggies. Philip preferred crickets.

National Reptile Zoo

This is what lizards do most of the time.

Reptile Zoo

The most impressive part of the tour  are Animal Encounter Sessions that are carried out by trained reptile wranglers.

National Reptile Zoo

Christina begins this session by introducing a Burmese Python, and asks if we know where exactly his tail is.

Reptile Village

I wanted to take a picture of the tail, but it  came out blurred. In this picture, half of the tail is hidden behind Christina’s hand. The tail is only  5-6 inches long. The throat takes up one third of the body, and the rest is stomach.

Reptile Village

Everyone loves the Python.

Reptile Village

Reptile Village

Blue Steel, a huge albino Burmese Python I wanted to meet, was nowhere to be seen. Pearl, another albino, the biggest snake in Ireland, was not out of quarantine yet at that time – now she is on exhibit, so I have to go to the Zoo again. Female pythons are just a little bit longer than males, but much sturdier. I hope to take pictures of Pearl some time in summer.

This is Rosie, a gorgeous Chilean Rose tarantula. I don’t know if it would be a good business idea to open a Spider Zoo, but here Rosie is a star 🙂  I think I have also seen a scorpion somewhere in the Zoo, but it might be just a food item that simply escaped.

National Reptile Zoo

National Reptile Zoo

The National Reptile Zoo celebrates its 11th Anniversary in March. I think Rosie is the same age as the Zoo.

National Reptile Zoo

There are more than 150 animals of 50 species in the Reptile Zoo, and I will share more pictures next week. Stay tuned, and please don’t wear any St. Patrick’s day accessories when you are reading this blog 😉

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a wonderful weekend!


  1. An amazing post. I’m not too found of reptiles in general, met too many snakes at too close range in Africa, but I don’t “mind” them. Glad that Philip finally adapted to his new home.
    Be good.

    Liked by 1 person

Thank you for leaving a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s