Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Turtles and Lizards and Snakes--Oh My!

Every year over President's Day weekend we look forward to "Reptile Weekend" which showcases reptiles--and amphibians, too!--much to the delight of Museum guests.  As most of you know, the Museum specializes in exhibiting native plants and animals of Virginia.  But, for this event, we bring in guest exhibitors to display exotic critters--iguanas, bearded dragons, and plenty of snakes you might not normally see if you live in Virginia.  If you'd like more information about Reptile Weekend and a list of events scheduled throughout this three-day weekend (February 18-20, 2012), please check out the Museum's website.

Travis Land, our Herpetology Curator, as well as Herpetology Assistants Adrienne Pack and Maggie McCartney and a very dedicated team of volunteers, have been working long and hard to prepare for this event.  Many thanks to all!  Here's Travis with our alligator used in educational programs:
Here, Travis holds our ball python.  Though our python will not be on display, our guest exhibitors will bring several varieties of pythons and boas:
Also to be displayed will be our beautiful gila monster--this venomous lizard is native to the U.S. desert southwest.  Many thanks to my friend and fellow educator Bo Baker for helping me get this incredible shot of this colorful lizard flicking its tongue out.  In case you're curious, Bo very patiently held the lizard while I took over a 100 shots before capturing this photo!:
New this year will be the "Turtle Cove" display highlighting several kinds of turtles and tortoises, including this lovely diamondback terrapin.  Here's Adrienne holding the terrapin.  Below is a nice profile of the terrapin.  Thank you Adrienne and Bo for helping me get these photos!:
We also have lots of other reptiles and amphibians on display year-round, such as this cottonmouth--a venomous snake on display in our Cypress Swamp Habitarium:
I'll do a "special update" blog after Reptile Weekend to share photos of the event for my readers in other countries.  I'm pleased to note that, to date, this blog has been viewed in over 50 different countries!  But if you're local, I look forward to seeing you in person!  More off the beaten path in two weeks....



  1. Hi,
    I have been searching for this information and finally found it. Thanks!

    1. Glad I could help! If there is anything else I can help with just let me know. Lisa Wright

  2. There is no doubt that cottonmouth snakes are one of the top venomous snakes that can be found in US. Couple of years back my friend who lives in Florida was bitten by a cottonmouth snake and he has to spend several weeks in the hospital. Surely I would love to visit the place and see all the animals you have but I would rather like to have a distance of several feet when viewing any venomous snake like this one.

    1. Hi Michael, I totally agree. I'm very sorry your friend had to suffer through that terrible ordeal and sincerely hope that he recovered completely. As for visiting the VLM, rest assured all our venomous snakes on display are definitely behind glass. I was only about two feet away when I took the cottonmouth photo--and very thankful that I was on the other side of the glass. Thank you for your comment. Lisa