New reptile exhibits to open at Peoria Zoo

By WEEK Reporter

May 17, 2012 Updated May 17, 2012 at 10:11 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- The large reptiles at the Peoria Zoo will be returned to their renovated exhibits and be available for public viewing on Thursday.

The original intent of the remodel was to enlarge the doors that the keepers use to access the animals.  However, the park district saw an opportunity to upgrade the zoo and decided to dramatically overhaul the exhibits.

"After 25 years of climbing in and out of smaller doors, it is going to feel strange not having to bend and twist so much," Doug Holmes, the zoo's resident herpetologist said.  "I am also very excited to see the animals in larger and more complex environments."

Originally five exhibits, the upgrades have turned the enclosures into three larger exhibits.

The South American exhibit will house a pair of red footed tortoises and six male common boa constrictors.  The Desert Southwest Exhibit will house the only two venomous lizards in to world, the gila monster and bearded lizard.  Finally, the Asian Exhibit will house two Burmese pythons named "Jezabel" and "Spike".

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