January’s Zoo News!

January’s Zoo News

This month has been nice and busy here at The National Reptile Zoo, as we make lots of preparations for our busy season ahead!

We’ve teamed up with some very cool business here in Ireland to bring you guys some great offers and although we can’t tell you about all of them just yet, we can definitely tell you about this one…..

We’ve teamed up with Glanbia and My Milkman to give their loyal customers a 2 for 1 deal on admission to The National Reptile Zoo! All you’ve got to do is sign up to their customer loyalty scheme and unlock the codes, easy!

my milkman promo shot

(Image: mymilkman.ie)

The January spotlight was on diet and our reptile residents eating habits! Our Keepers/Educators spent the entire month telling our visitors fun facts about what our animals eat, when they eat and demonstrating some feeding displays!

Did you know that a Chameleon uses it’s extra long tongue to catch its prey?

chameleon tongue cricket

tongue anatomy chameleon

(Image: Basica anatomy of a chameleon tongues- Chameleonnews.com)

Here at The National Reptile Zoo, we have a wide range of animals, each with specific dietary requirements!

Our Tropical Walk-Through Dome residents get a leafy green and fruity meal, freshly prepared every morning by our Keepers!


tortoise iggy dome breakfast

Did you know?

A herbivore is an animal that only feeds on plant matter!

An insectivore only feeds on insects, worms and other invertibrates!

An omnivore eats a variety of food including meat and plant matter!

A carnivore feeds on other animals/meat!

Scorpion with cricket

Did you know? 

Scorpions use their stinger to ‘inject’ venom into their prey before they eat them, like our scorpion pictured above with a cricket!

Sticking with our spotlight on feeding habits, check out this awesome cake, made by Laura (aged 6) and her mam, for her Radical Reptile Party here in The National Reptile Zoo! 

Birthday Cake RRP January 2017 Laura

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish all the boys and girls that shared their birthday us this January a very happy birthday from all the team here!

This month we were part of the birthday celebrations of Laura,  Dylan , Kasey & Keegan, Lory and Orla!

Salt Water Crocs

You guys might remember that three years ago, we were the first people to ever import crocs all the way from New Zealand? Well, now they are preparing for their journey to their new home in a zoo in Denmark. Before they head off, we have to take measurements of their weight, height and growth rate for our records and we’ve decided to let you guys go behind the scenes with us this Sunday, January 29th from 1.30pm!

You can find out all the info you need right here.

Crocodile Research Coalition 

The CRC announced their internship information, so if you want to get involved in crocodile conservation, check out this poster or click here.


Finally, we launched a Twitter account for The National Reptile Zoo this past week! You’ll find us by searching ‘National Reptile Zoo’ or just by entering our username @natreptilezoo 

But don’t worry you can still keep up with the adventures of our Zoo Director on his own Twitter account too, @jamesreptilezoo

Coming soon…….

Next month is jam packed with fun activities and lots of offers, competitions and more, so keep your eyes peeled on our social media accounts for deals, prizes and event information!

We will be announcing our January colouring competition winner and our January Facebook ‘check-in’ winner on Tuesday, January 31st.

Catch up with our blog next week, where we reveal our team’s MBTI personality types and allow you guys to get to know us a little better!

Until next time,

The National Reptile Zoo Team

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Valentines Date Night Competition!



Valentines Date Night Competition Details!


Our Yellow Foot Tortoise,  Michael and Michelle are set to celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary this Valentine’s Day!


We’re celebrating their anniversary on Valentine’s day this year by giving 3 lucky couples a date night with a difference!

On Tuesday, February 14th, there will be a Prosecco reception from 7.30pm, followed by a romantic candlelit (indoor) picnic. The delicious fresh food will be supplied from Siobhan at Glasrai & Goodies.

After your picnic, your personal tour guide will give the winning couples a guided, after hours tour of the zoo, followed by an exclusive tortoise feeding experience in our Tropical Walk-Through Dome and to top it all off, you will get to meet our adorable baby red foot tortoise during your VIP animal encounter session!

How To Enter

Head over to our Facebook page, twitter page or Instagram and tell us the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for someone or the most romantic thing someone has ever done for you!

The winners will be announced on Tuesday February 7 th 2017 at 1pm

Best of luck!

The National Reptile Zoo Team

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See you later, Alligator…In a while, crocodile!

swimmiung with saltees



See you later, Alligator….. In a while, Crocodile!


This Sunday, January 29th, we are bringing you an exclusive opportunity to peak ‘behind the scenes’ at The National Reptile Zoo as we prepare 3 of our Salt Water Crocodiles (Crocodylus Porosus) for their next big journey!


saltee under water over water


We made headlines back in 2014 when the 6 juvenile crocs made the huge trip from Auckland to Sydney, to Abu Dhabi to London and finally landed in Dublin. (Click here to see our Salties being introduced to their new home).

Irish Examiner front page 2014

Irish Times front page 2014


The 6 juvenile crocs were the first ever crocs to be exported from New Zealand after Butterfly Creek Zoo, Auckland, no longer had the space to house them. Salt Water Crocs can reach lengths of over 6m and weigh up to 1000kg.

Since making their incredibly long journey half way round the world, two  of the salties were donated to zoos in the UK, two went on temporary loan to Dingle Aquarium and were recently returned to us here in The National Reptile Zoo in Gowran, Co.Kilkenny.

swimmiung with saltees


So what’s next for these well traveled crocs? 


This spring will see 3 of our 4 Salties travel once again, this time they will be making their way to their new home in a crocodile zoo in Denmark.

We will be sad to see them go, but we’re confident that we have a chosen a brilliant new home for them!

saltee 1 jpg


As they will be leaving us in the coming weeks, we decided to let you guys have an exclusive look at what goes on behind the scenes in The National Reptile Zoo by carrying out their January morphometric recording at our animal encounter arena! That’s right, for one day only you will get to see these incredible crocodiles up close and out of the water as our keepers talk you through the morphometric (weight and length / growth rate) recording process, in preparation for their big move!

saltee 2

There will be 4 chances throughout the day to take part in this exclusive experience  (1.30pm, 2.30pm , 3.30pm and the final chance at 4.30pm).


See you later, Alligator….. In a while, Crocodile!

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2016 – The Best Bits

2016 has been a year of many highs and lows and as it draws to a close we’d like to take the opportunity to take a positive look back on our best bits!


Above: RTE filming The Pet Island series with our American Alligators in January.

Below: To celebrate our 10th birthday back in March, we took CoCo the Croc on an adventure around Ireland!




In July our brand new Tropical Walk-Through Dome opened, housing Green Iguanas, Tortoise, Soft Shell Turtles and Green Anoles!


In August, our Zoo to You team had the pleasure of meeting Marissa Carter (Cocoa Brown Founder, Girl Boss and an absolute sweetheart) in Kilkenny’s Lyrath Estate Hotel. We even helped her to get over her fear over spiders with a little encouragement from Rosie, our Chilean Rose Tarantula!


September was the month of Today FM’s fund raising initiative, Dare to Care, for the Irish Cancer Society.



Above: Our animal collections manager, Jonny, took part in #WeddingDressWednesday to help raise some money for The Irish Cancer Society.

Below: Comedian and all round nice guy, Neil Delamere, popped in to The National Reptile Zoo to face his fear of scorpions and ended up feeding our Alligators too, all as part of the Dare to Care initiative!



October brought with it a whole host of fun for The National Reptile Zoo including eating insects to promote insect protein use and our annual Halloween Spooktacular!


Above: Staff dinner in Kyteler’s Inn, Kilkenny.

Below: Photos from our Halloween Spooktacular event that saw the zoo over run with Zombie Zoo Keepers, a special appearance from Mrs.Brown and’ Poop’ tea..literally.

Katelyn Hennessy and her dad James eating scorpions during Halloween Night at the Reptile Village. Photo: Pat Moore.

Katelyn Hennessy and her dad James eating scorpions during Halloween Night at the Reptile Village. Photo: Pat Moore.

Evanna Minogue tries out handling a snake during the Halloween Night at the Reptile Zoo. Photo: Pat Moore.

Evanna Minogue tries out handling a snake during the Halloween Night at the Reptile Zoo. Photo: Pat Moore.

Dylan Kirby and Brooklyn Hennessy with a snake during Halloween Night at Reptile Village. Photo: Pat Moore.

Dylan Kirby and Brooklyn Hennessy with a snake during Halloween Night at Reptile Village. Photo: Pat Moore.

Nicola Whitty and Gilli Skelton enjoying tea and insects at the Halloween Night in the Reptile Village. Photo: Pat Moore.

Nicola Whitty and Gilli Skelton enjoying tea and insects at the Halloween Night in the Reptile Village. Photo: Pat Moore.

(Halloween photos above: Pat Moore)


October also hosted the annual Pet Expo in the RDS and we had a great photo shoot with the very talented, up and coming photographer behind photography company Eirial Photography.



Above: Pet Expo 2016 at the RDS, Dublin.

Below: Some behind the scenes pictures of our photo-shoot and some of the finished products!





November is one of our busiest months of the entire year as our Zoo To You Team are on the road almost every single day, visiting schools all over the country with some reptiles for Science Week Month! This year we visited schools in Athlone, Kerry, Kilkenny, Cork, Dublin, Longford, Kildare, Waterford and more!

Here’s a snap of our Zoo Director, James, giving a lecture to the UCD verterinary students!


Black Friday also gave us the perfect excuse to show our appreciation to you loyal customers by slashing our admission prices to just €2!!


In December, Zoo Director, James, attended Venom Day at Bangor University!


Finally, we celebrated the end of another year of The National Reptile Zoo with a delicious meal in Paris Texas, Kilkenny.




We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support throughout 2016 and we look forward to seeing you in 2017.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year

James and staff at The National Reptile Zoo

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Zoo News!

Hi Guys,


It’s been a while since we posted anything on our blog as we’ve been super busy over the last few months, so we decided we’d write a little post to tell you what we’ve been up to!



There was a sound of wedding bells, accompanied by the sound of laughter as our Animal Collections Manager, Jonny, took part in the Dare to Care fundraising initiative run by Today FM in aid of The Irish Cancer Society!


Yep, Jonny was a blushing bride here in The National Reptile Zoo as the rest of the team fussed over him on his special day! We had so much fun making his ‘wedding dress’ and watching him carry out his zoo keeper responsibilities in a wedding gown fit for a princess! Who was the designer we hear you ask? Zoo director James did his best Vera Wang impression as he cut, sewed and pinned fabric to create a dress that can only be described as a work of art  😛



Jonny raised some much needed funds for The Irish Cancer Society and we are all so proud of him! If you’d like to make a donation to The Irish Cancer Society, you can do so here.







We also had a very familiar face in with us as part of the Dare to Care initiative too, Today FM’s very own Neil Delamere travelled down to our zoo here in Gowran to face his fear of scorpions, but we couldn’t have him travel all the way down here without getting him in to feed the alligators too, he was a little scared but put on a brave face as he conquered his fears with ease (for the most part)!




It was so wonderful to see so many people across the country take part in such a worthy fundraising initiative, and we were thrilled to play a part in it!

We also spent a day with the super talented photographer, Mike,  from Eirial Photography  to get some new promotional photos for both our Zoo here in Gowran and our Lost World exhibit in Drogheda! We can’t wait to share the photos with you all in the coming weeks!

Here’s a sneak peek of Mike snapping pics of Michael, our Yellow Foot Tortoise inside our new Tropical Walk-Through Dome!




Last weekend our Zoo To You Team were in Dublin’s RDS to attend the annual Family Pet Expo. We attend the Pet Expo every year and it’s always so great to meet so many of you guys over the course of the two days. This year was so busy we literally didn’t stop! We brought along some of our scaly friends, as well as a couple of critters including a tarantula and a scorpion too!





We had a great time and hope you all did too!



Our team had a really nice meal in Kytelers Inn, Kilkenny this month too. The staff were super friendly, the music was great and the food was delicious, big thank you to the team in there!



Our big news this month is the launch of our 2016 Halloween Spooktacular, which is taking place on Saturday October 29th from 7-9pm!



Are you brave enough to tour our zoo in the dark, meet our Zombie Zoo Keepers AND taste some creepy critters including crickets, beetles and centipedes? If so, this event is not to be missed!!




Fun for all the family, there will be prizes for best costumes, an alligator feeding display, animal encounter sessions, ghoulish games and sinister snacks, all in the darkness of night, with only a glow stick as your guide!


Tickets must be pre-booked as spaces are limited, you can purchase yours here.  €10 pp or €35 per family of four!



James, our Zoo Director, also attended a conference for croc specialists in the UK last weekend too, so we’ll be writing a full post about that next week and we’ll be telling you all about the conservation message behind our bite-a-bug section of our Halloween Spooktacular, stay tuned!!



Until next time,


The National Reptile Zoo Team :)

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