Creature Feature : Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragon

Pogona vitticeps

Reptiles Alive name: “Mr. Beardie”beardieportrait

Hissstory: Mr. Beardie was an unwanted pet that came to live with us in 2006.

RA Diet: Mr. Beardie likes to eat: crickets, super worms, roaches, dead mice, greens, fruits and dry food made for bearded dragons.

Natural Diet: Bearded dragons are omnivores – so they eat both meat and plants.  Insects, small animals, greens, fruits, and flowers are all part of their diet in the wild.

Range: Central Australia.

Habitat: Bearded dragons live in the “Outback” – desert and open woodland where they bask on branches and rocks.

Size: Bearded dragons are medium sized lizards that can grow to 16 – 22 inches long.

Lifespan: Bearded dragons can live over 10 years.

Reproduction: Female bearded dragons lay 11-30 oval eggs in a shallow nest dug in the sand. The babies will hatch about two months later.

Conservation: Australia has banned the exportation of its native wildlife for the pet trade, so any bearded dragons sold as pets in the United States have been captively bred here.

Cool Facts: When threatened, bearded dragons puff out their spiky bodies and throat so they become bigger and spikier!  Predators will usually avoid the sore throat they would get from swallowing such a prickly meal.

Reptiles Alive! After School Enrichment Program

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Snakes, scales, and lizard tails are just a few of the things we are learning about in the Reptiles Alive After School Enrichment Program.

Students love attending our hands-on live animal after school program.  During each class, a professional Reptiles Alive wildlife educator introduces students to different live animals including slimy amphibians, spiky iguanas, grinning alligators, creepy crawlies, laughing lizards and more.  Interesting artifacts such as skeletons, antlers, eggs, and skins are also included in many of the programs.  Story-telling, arts & craft activities, and fun experiments combined with live exotic animals, make this a very popular program.

Activities during our classes include safely touching live snakes, turtles, and lizards and handling skulls, bones, skins and other natural artifacts.  We might: search for animals in a population survey; slip in slime to discover the properties of frog mucus; help train a couple of animals; measure the world’s biggest snake; find out what it’s like to be a zoo keeper; start a nature journal; and more!

Our after school classes are great for grades k-3 or 3-6.  We have a maximum of 19 students allowed so that each student gets an up close and personal experience.  Schools and PTA’s are booking for the current school year now.  If you are interested in bringing this wildly exciting class to your school this year, please give us a call at 703 560-0257 or send us an email at [email protected]

Fall Changes at Reptiles Alive

Fall is always an exciting time at Reptiles Alive.

We all feel a sense of relief and accomplishment that we have made it through another super busy summer.  We presented approximately 500 shows in June, July & August at libraries, festivals, and tons of summer camps.  Whew!  It is always nice to get the break in September to re-group and get ready for the school year.

The emails and phone calls from PTA representatives and teachers begin flooding into our office as the new school year gets started.  Assemblies, classroom visits, and family fun nights are all being scheduled now, so our office staff works hard to keep up with all the bookings.  If you are interested in booking a program for your school give us a call at 703 560-0257 or send us an email at [email protected]  You can find out all about our programs for schools on our Schools Page.

Although we may not be quite as busy doing weekday shows in September as in other months, our weekends are always booked solid for us with all the fall festivals and birthday party shows and we do a lot of scout programs in the evening. You can check out which festivals we will be at on our Public Events Calendar.

More fall changes at Reptiles Alive include a new school assembly show called “Wetlands Alive!”, a new Honduran milk snake that has not yet been named, and a new assistant Animal Keeper we just hired – Amaya Perez.  Look for more information about the new show, animal, and keeper in future blog posts.

Happy Fall Everybody!!

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Creature Feature: Blue Tongue Skink

Blue Tongue Skink

Tiliqua scincoides

Reptiles Alive Name: “Mystique & Tiliqua”bluetongueout12

Hissstory: Mystique was an unwanted pet that was sent to us in 1997.  Tiliqua was sent to us by Alexandria Animal Control in 2003 after she was  found as a stray – either a lost or abandoned pet.

RA Diet: We feed our blue tongues: greens, fruits, vegetables, crickets, super worms, roaches and dead mice.

Natural Diet: Fruits, flowers, insects, carrion, fungi, and invertebrates; especially snails.

Range: Australia.

Habitat: Semi-arid savannas, woodlands, tropical jungles, and urban backyards.

Size: Blue tongue skinks are some of the largest members of the skink family.  They can grow to 23 inches long.

Lifespan: Blue tongues can live over 20 years.

Reproduction: Most lizards lay eggs – but not blue tongue skinks.  Females give birth to about 10 live young. The baby lizards are on their own the moment they are born.

Conservation: While once widespread, they are becoming more rare in certain parts of their range due to human related activities:  dogs, cats, lawnmowers and busy roads.

Cool Facts: When confronted by a predator, blue tongue skinks open their mouths, stick out their blue tongue and hiss loudly.   This display is usually enough to scare off their enemy.