5-Star Timeshare Accomodation for Zoo’s Reptiles

11 February 2022

Reptiles at Werribee Open Range Zoo have been busy exploring a newly renovated enrichment space, akin to luxury 5-star accommodation.

The upgraded mobile habitat, named The Snake Exploratorium, comes complete with a heated pool, water feature and climbing wall, and is custom designed to provide the zoo’s Madagascan ground boas, Shingleback lizards, and Blue-tongue lizards with a variety of sensory experiences that stimulate them both physically and mentally. 

Werribee Open Range Zoo keeper Maddy Jamieson said the recent home improvements have increased the size of the Exploratorium, its thermal integrity and keepers’ ability to provide varied experiences for the resident reptiles.  

“To provide the best welfare outcomes for our reptiles, we create microhabitats within their environment for choice, as well as new and novel experiences,” Ms Jamieson said. “With the additional space, we’re able to offer them a greater variety of substrates, water elements and furniture to enhance the environment.  

We’re also now able to offer this enrichment space day and night. It sustains a temperature range between 20°C and 36°C, and high humidity, which are optimal conditions for these ectothermic species that rely on environmental conditions to maintain their body temperature.”

Hollowed Ostrich eggshells, American bison fur, log hollows and tree browse are the interior design trends being seen in the renovated space. Each not only offers interesting visuals, but also introduce sensory stimuli such as scents and textures to add complexity to the overall experience, emulating what the curious reptiles might experience in the wild 

The Snake Exploratorium was kindly funded by John Cochrane through Zoos Victoria’s Willy Wonka program – an initiative that encourages staff to create novel and unique animal enrichment items for a range of zoo animals.  

Zoo Members and visitors to Werribee Open Range Zoo can get a close-up view of The Snake Exploratorium outside the Ranger Kids centre, throughout the year.