L.A. Zoo’s LAIR Celebrates an Abundance of Snake Babies

CONTACT: L.A. Zoo Press

August 18, 2014

State-of-the-art Facility Allows Species to Breed by Mimicking Southwest Desert

Southwest speckled rattlesnake young

Southwest speckled rattlesnake young. Photo by Ian Recchio

The Los Angeles Zoo has recently welcomed an overwhelming number of snake babies all born on exhibit in the Desert LAIR building over the last month. While it is currently breeding season for these snakes in the wild, they are able to successfully breed here at the Zoo because of their habitat, a state-of-the-art facility that mimics the natural environment and seasonal changes of the Southwest desert. Thanks to special features like the controlled temperature and large skylight of the habitat, several species of snakes are able to thrive and ultimately reproduce as they would in nature.

Among the snake species recently born, the Zoo is excited to announce a litter of five rattle-less rattlesnakes. This venomous pitviper species is currently critically endangered and can only be found on one tiny island called Isla Santa Catalina in the Gulf of California, just off the east coast of the state of Baja California Sur, Mexico. This small and swift rattlesnake is known for its most distinctive characteristic – it lacks a rattle!

Another exciting addition is a litter of seven Southwest speckled rattlesnakes. These venomous snakes are found only in remote areas of Southern Arizona and Baja, Mexico. In demand at zoos across the country, these white snakes tell an interesting evolutionary tale as they have evolved to match the white granite rocks found in the mountains they reside to avoid predators.

The last addition are five sidewinder rattlesnakes, a venomous pitviper species that isn’t particularly rare or endangered but is quite popular in zoo collections across the country. Guests may find them interesting to watch due to their unique, sidewinding method of locomotion.

All of the babies are being taken care of off-site in the Zoo’s reptile holding facility until they are able to be sent to zoos across the country. The parents can currently be seen on exhibit in Desert LAIR from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. Admission is $18 for adults and $13 for children ages 2 to 12. The Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For  information, call (323) 644-4200