Say hello to green iguanas at Visakhapatnam Zoo’s new Reptile House

The city’s Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP) has an exciting new addition: Reptile House. Peer into the glass enclosures here to come face-to-face with beady-eyed iguanas. Appala Raju and Kotarao keepers are on hand all day tending to the reptiles and their food needs.

“The idea is to provide an informative visual experience for visitors. There will be panels with facts about iguanas such as where they come from and what they eat,” says IGZP curator Nandani Salaria . Green iguanas are large species of arboreal and primarily herbivorous lizards. They are present over a wide geographical area and are native to southern Brazil, Paraguay, Mexico, South America and Puerto Rico.

A close view of the green iguana at the Reptile House opened at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park

A close view of the green iguana at the Reptile House opened at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park | Photo credit: KR Deepak

Currently, 16 sub-adult iguanas are placed in this new section at the IGZP. The zoo has a total of 30 iguanas (27 sub-adults and three adults); 27 hatchlings were born in two broods in two different seasons. The new enclosures are equipped with exhaust fans and khus khus mats to maintain room temperature. “Green iguanas prefer a temperature of around 40 degrees Celsius and humidity, so the Reptile House is built in such a way that there is enough sunlight,” says Nandani. The region also has trails suitable for people with reduced mobility. Wooden logs and plywood enrichment tools are kept for visual enrichment.

The Reptile House recently opened at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in Visakhapatnam.

The Reptile House recently opened at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in Visakhapatnam. | Photo credit: KR Deepak

Zoo officials monitor the reptiles in their new home through a series of measures. These include the formulation of a diet according to the needs of the species, the fortification of food with vitamin and mineral supplements according to the stage of development, the administration of antibiotics by bad time to prevent the onset of disease, regular disinfection of the pen, provision of footbaths at the entrance, daily cleaning of feeders and drinkers, and periodic removal and replacement of soil of the top layer in the pens.

The zoo also plans to soon invite new inhabitants through animal exchange programs with other zoos. On the list are the reticulated python, red-crowned tortoise, Travancore tortoise, and Whitaker’s sand boa.

The Reptile House recently opened at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in Visakhapatnam.

The Reptile House recently opened at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in Visakhapatnam. | Photo credit: KR Deepak

The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park has a variety of ongoing development activities. As part of the company’s environmental activity, IOCL undertook development programs with a budget of ₹2 crore. “We have installed benches and litter bins for visitors and landscaped some areas of the zoo. In addition, we are building night houses for rhinos and striped hyenas and we are also repairing enclosures for Himalayan black bears and aviary enclosures,” Nandani said. Apart from this, the Bioscope interpretation center is also being modernized.

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