Say hello to green iguanas at the new Reptile House in Visakhapatnam zoo

The Reptile House has 16 sub-adult green iguanas housed in glass enclosures

Updated - May 28, 2022 04:00 pm IST

Published - May 28, 2022 03:14 pm IST

Children looking at green iguanas at the Reptile House opened at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park recently in Visakhapatnam.

Children looking at green iguanas at the Reptile House opened at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park recently in Visakhapatnam. | Photo Credit: K R Deepak

The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP) in the city has an interesting new addition: Reptile House. Peer into glass enclosures here to come face-to-face with beady-eyed iguanas. Caretakers Appala Raju and Kotarao are present through the day to look after the reptiles and their dietary needs.

"The idea is to offer an informative viewing experience for visitors. There will be boards with facts about iguanas such as where they come from and what they eat," says curator of IGZP Nandani Salaria. Green iguanas are large, arboreal, mostly herbivorous species of lizard. They are present over a large geographic area and are native to southern Brazil, Paraguay, Mexico, South America and Puerto Rico.

A close view of green iguana at the Reptile House opened at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park

A close view of green iguana at the Reptile House opened at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park | Photo Credit: KR Deepak

At present, 16 sub-adult iguanas are placed in this new section at IGZP. The zoo has in all 30 (27 sub-adults and three adults) iguanas; 27 hatchlings were born in two clutches in two different seasons. The new enclosures are equipped with exhaust fans and khus khus mats to maintain room temperature. “Green iguanas prefer a temperature of around 40 degrees Celsius and humidity so the Reptile House is constructed in such a way that there is enough sunlight coming in,” says Nandani. The area has pathways that are disabled friendly as well. Wooden logs and plywood enrichment tools are kept for visual enrichment.

The Reptile House opened at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park recently in Visakhapatnam.

The Reptile House opened at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park recently in Visakhapatnam. | Photo Credit: K R Deepak

Zoo officials are monitoring the reptiles in their new home through a series of measures. These include formulation of diet according to the species requirement, fortification of feed with the vitamin and mineral supplements according to the developmental stage, antibiotic administration during inclement weather to prevent the flare up of diseases, regular disinfection of the enclosure, providing foot dips at the entry, daily cleaning of feed and water troughs and periodical removal and replacement of top layer soil in the enclosures.

The zoo also plans to invite new inhabitants soon as a part of animal exchange programmes with other zoos. On the list are reticulated python, red crowned roof turtle, Travancore tortoise, and Whitaker’s sand boa.

The Reptile House opened at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park recently in Visakhapatnam.

The Reptile House opened at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park recently in Visakhapatnam. | Photo Credit: K R Deepak

The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park has a variety of development activities going on. As part of Corporate Environmental Activity, IOCL has undertaken development programmes with a budget of ₹2 crore. "We have set up seating benches and dustbins for visitors and landscaping some areas of the zoo. In addition, we are constructing night houses for rhinoceros and striped hyenas and also repairing Himalayan Black Bear enclosures and aviary enclosures," Nandani says. Apart from this, the Bioscope Interpretation Centre is also being upgraded.

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