Spring to the Zoo in April to Meet Animals as Old as Time at Roger Williams Park Zoo
Animals that roamed the earth millions of years ago seem to appear only in fairy tales or horror films. Large lizards, reptiles with long tongues and sharp teeth may be the stuff of great film. However, what may be quite surprising is that there are animals that walked with the dinosaurs and are still surviving in the twenty-first century. Take one look at either the largest lizard on Earth, the Komodo dragon, or the American alligator, and there is no doubt these amazing creatures roamed the earth in another age. Now these two spectacular animals are joining the Roger Williams Park Zoo family.
The Komodo dragon species is four million years old. Animal keepers at the Zoo say that the Komodo dragon is quite lovable, has lots of personality, and is very intelligent. The young female Komodo dragon joining the Roger Williams Park Zoo family hails from the Oglebay Zoo in West Virginia, and has a ways to go before reaching her adult size.
The Komodo dragon is a fascinating creature with its massive, flat head, bowed legs, and long, thick tail. Also known as the Komodo monitor, the animal originates from the Indonesian Islands of Komodo (from which it gets its names). A member of the monitor lizard family Varanidae, it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of ten feet, and weighing up to approximately 150 pounds. They tend to be solitary animals only coming together to mate. Female Komodo dragons can have virgin births, which means there are some Komodo dragons that do not need a male to fertilize an egg for it to hatch!
American alligators, while more than 150 million years old, somehow managed to avoid extinction when the dinosaurs vanished 65 million years ago. The American alligator lives in freshwater, mainly in the southeastern part of the United States, largely in Florida. The alligator is a survival success story of a once endangered species. The alligator was saved from extinction due to state and federal protections, habitat preservation efforts, and reduced demand for alligator products, which improved the species’ wild population to more than one million and growing. The four newly arrived alligators will be located off Wilderness Plaza next to the porcupines. Make sure you stop by to visit our new family members!
~ Diane S. Nahabedian
This April we have a lot to celebrate with you starting off with our annual Spring Festival at the Carousel with the Easter Bunny, Party for the Planet to honor Earth Day, and vacation programs all week long!