Posted August 14, 2023 in News
World Lizard Day 2023
Who has scaly skin, a long tail and claws? A Lizard!
We are celebrating our cold-blooded friends and introducing some of the Lizard species we have here at Colchester Zoo. From incredible Iguanas to the most colourful creatures to the largest Lizard in the world, find out more below!
FIJI BANDED IGUANA (Brachylophus fasciatus)
Here at Colchester Zoo, we have four Fiji Banded Iguanas; Koro and Kalara our breeding pair, and their two daughters. All four are housed in our Worlds Apart building, however, Koro is currently separated from the females. Koro can be found in the first exhibit whereas the female enclosure is further inside the building. Koro and Kalara will only be together during the breeding season. Males and females are easy to tell apart as males have green and blue stripes, whereas females are completely green. Here at Colchester Zoo, we have been lucky enough to breed six offspring which is excellent news for this Endangered species.
KOMODO DRAGON (Varanus komodoensis)
Back in January 2013, we saw the hatching of our first baby Komodo Dragon from our previous pair, Mutu and Telu. It was later confirmed that Mutu and Telu had become the first Komodo Dragons in the UK to breed through natural mating. We now have two male Komodo Dragons here at Colchester Zoo, who can be found in our Dragons of Komodo exhibit. Talibo and Atal were both bred here at the Zoo and are now 9 years old. Both are inquisitive and curious creatures, although Talibo is much more outgoing than Atal who tends to have a more relaxed temperament. In order to replicate the diet they would typically have out in the wild, they are given one large feed per month. Komodo Dragons have an exceptionally strong sense of smell so our Animal Care Team also put lots of different scents in their enclosures each day – their favourite is hot chocolate! The best time to see our pair is early in the morning as this is when they are most active.
RHINOCEROS IGUANA (Cyclura cornuta)
Our male Rhinoceros Iguana called Rico, arrived at Colchester Zoo in June 2003 and is homed in our Worlds Apart building. Rico is very inquisitive and enjoys picking his favourite flowers from browse branches in the summer months. Although he has a mixed diet of mostly vegetation, Rico also eats insects such as Locusts which he will chase around the enclosure. Rico is target trained which helps the Animal Care Team during his routine health checks. He has also recently been box trained so he does not need to be handled during any medical procedures.
SOLOMON ISLAND SKINK (Corucia zebrata)
Here at Colchester Zoo, we have a family group of ten Solomon Island Skinks who can be found in our Heart of the Amazon exhibit. The Solomon Island Skink is the largest of all Skink species. They also have thick prehensile tails which help them to balance when climbing branches. This particular lizard species is also interesting as they actually give birth to their offspring rather than laying eggs. When born, the youngsters are a much darker colour compared to the adults which helps them to camouflage. The best time to see our family group is from 4pm which is when they are most active.
EMERALD TREE MONITOR LIZARD (Varanus prasinus)
In our newly named Rivers Edge building, we house two Emerald Tree Monitor Lizards; one 8 year old male named Kubor and one 5 year old female named Esmeralda. Emerald Tree Monitor Lizards are carnivorous, eating a diet of mostly insects but also small rodents. They can usually be seen high up in the branches, especially basking under the lamps within their habitat. As a monitor lizard, they have forked tongues and a highly sensitive sense of smell so the Animal Care Team often provide sensory enrichment by introducing different scents into their environment. They are also the only monitor lizard with a prehensile tail.
GREEN IGUANA (Iguana iguana)
Here at Colchester Zoo, we have two Green Iguanas; one 13 year old male named Fernando, and one 8 year old female named Pusia. The pair live in Iguana Forest with Boris, the Yellow Footed Tortoise. They have lived together at Colchester Zoo since mid-2022 and immediately formed a great relationship. Both of them are big sun lovers and on hot days can be found outside in the Rainforest Walkthrough. When outside, they tend to lay on the floor, especially at lunch time! However, if you are struggling to see them, try looking up in the trees! Like all Iguanas, the Green Iguana has long toes, ending in long, sharp claws which allow them to grip onto branches.