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 caring for their ‘pets’ 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.
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 🙂
Waking up after a nap 🙂
First things first 🙂
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.
Rhinoceros Iguana in the main building loves his veggies. Philip preferred crickets.
This is what lizards do most of the time.
The most impressive part of the tour are Animal Encounter Sessions that are carried out by trained reptile wranglers.
Christina begins this session by introducing a Burmese Python, and asks if we know where exactly his tail is.
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.
Everyone loves the Python.
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.
The National Reptile Zoo celebrates its 11th Anniversary in March. I think Rosie is the same age as the 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 😉
Have a wonderful weekend!
Amazing pictures, Ines! You gotta love them! 🙂
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.
Thank you Brian! I imagine you have a huge experience with the crawling scaly things. I respect them, from a distance, mostly 😉
That is the best technique. Stay away. 🙂
Reptiles are my favorite, for sure. Great images Inese!
Thank you Maria. They are beautiful indeed.
Great photo story, Inese. Reptiles are fascinating creatures.
They truly are. I wish people were more mindful towards the reptiles and amphibians.
I am not a reptile person but your pictures are amazingly beautiful x
You grow to love them when you stick with them for a while 🙂
well you certainly do them credit. x
The python in particular is spectacular! You take fantastic photos. I do not know though if I would want to touch any of those creatures, I admit it!!
Thank you Christy. The python was a cutie, and quite mellow.
Again beautiful pictures and a great story accompanying it! Philip´s so handsome and extremely cute when he was younger 😉 I can understand why you miss him so much. I wasn’t aware that these reptiles can bond with their owner, but maybe I should have guessed. I kind of feel stupid for not knowing… Lizards, dragons, iguanas they´re all fine with me, especially since they´re so very beautiful and wonderful for doing pottery statues and the like. Snakes… still okay, since they, don´t have legs which I appreciate since I´m not very fond of anything with more than 6, better 4 legs, but the tarantula! No, definitely no. 🙂 I would very probably have left the center screaming my head off 😉 Have a lovely Sunday and a beautiful week, Inese! 🙂 xxxxxxxxxxxx
Oh Sarah, you get used to a creature when you take care of him. I only knew Philip for one week, but I still love him years after 🙂 I don’t know about spiders, never tried to love them, really 😉 xxxx
I once had a dog for 1 day – he came out of nowhere and joined us on our fieldtrip on Bodensee. I still remember everything about him 😄 It was so lovely! xxxxx
Yes I understand what you mean.xxxx
Wonderful, but poignant, stories about Philip and the plight of abandoned pets, Inese. The photos of your visit to the zoo are stunning.
Thank you Carol. Sometimes people have best intentions and do their duty and everything, but suddenly their life falls apart. Such things happen, and Philip’s ‘parents’ did the best thing in their conditions. We have to consider a lot before we take responsibility for somebody’s life, and think about plan B if something happens to us.
Such wise and compassionate insights, Inese.
Thank you 🙂
Oh my gosh, Phillip was so adorable as a baby. I love reptiles, as I do most animals, but tarantulas I can’t do. Was it you in the pics holding that one? I don’t think I could, they really make me shiver. Here in Bangkok we have huge monitor lizards, like the one in your photo, living in parks and swimming in the canals. I love it when I see them, although I don’t get too close, those tails look lethal! I will look forward to your next visit 🙂 xx
No, I wasn’t brave enough to hold Rosie, but a young boy did it 🙂 We were told that if we drop her she would die from the impact 😦 I didn’t want to feel guilty so I didn’t even touch her.
The monitors are so huge. They have a good few monitors in the Zoo. I heard that Comodo ones are aggressive.
A fabulous collection of reptiles at the National Reptile Zoo, Inese – not forgetting Rosie the tarantula.- and I’d love to visit there next time I’m in Dublin. I’ve only seen a ‘Reptile House’ as part of a general zoo before. I enjoyed hearing the story about Philip and he’s so cute in the photo of him when he was tiny…a handsome little water dragon. 🙂
Thank you, Millie. This one is not in Dublin. It is in Gowran, Co Kilkenny. I don’t think they have such an extensive collection of reptiles in the Dublin Zoo. When you come to Ireland and know where you are going to stay, I will write you a list of all the lovely places around 🙂
Oh dear…! That’ll teach me for reading posts when I’m half asleep. (Sometimes, last thing at night is the only time I can find for catching up.) Well, Co Kilkenny is relatively close to where we intend to stay, so that’s even better. Last time we came over to Ireland, we spent our last day in Dublin, but Kilkenny will be reachable during the week.
Thanks for your offer of a list of places to visit – it would be very appreciated! 🙂
Just let me know your approximate location 🙂 Kilkenny Castle could be on your list.
I’ll be spending St Paddy’s in Honolulu! It will be interesting to see how they celebrate!
Oh my goodness, lucky you! It would be my dream trip 🙂 They sure know how to celebrate green 🙂
We’ll see – I will be posting pictures! (assuming I ever stop goofing off and get back to blogging!)
I am looking forward to that. So wonderful that you made your winter a bit shorter 😉
This week I am off line – just answering comments.
Those are wonderful photos, Inese 🙂 I just absolutely love reptiles. My daughter owns a bearded dragon. He’s beautiful and really intelligent, and loves cuddles and chin-rubs. He also loves baths, especially if everybody crowds into the bathroom to watch him. When the family has been out and he hears them coming home, he gets really excited, like a dog would, rushing up and down, wanting immediate attention. I don’t think that some people realise that reptiles are capable of bonding with their owners and have feelings. It’s so sad when they’re not looked after properly. The people that Reptile Zoo look as if they understand this. Those reptiles in their care look happy and healthy.
Thank you so much, Sarah! Glad to hear your daughter owns a bearded dragon. May be they don’t have a long memory like the mammals do, but they remember enough to have a bond with their owner.
Beautiful photos and great blog! I love it! 🙂
Thank you for stopping by!
Reblogged this on Janet’s thread.
Thank you Janet! xx
Beautiful animals, I hope Philip has settled in now.
Thank you so much, Andrea.
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