Zoorassic World - Dublin Zoo is Ireland's most popular visitor attraction, and welcomed almost one million visitors last year.

10 things you didn’t know about reptiles and their very ancient relatives

10 things you didn’t know about reptiles and their very ancient relatives

  • There are about 10,000 species of reptile alive today. They are found across the world, on all continents except Antarctica.
  • Only two species live in the wild in Ireland, the common lizard and the slow worm (which is actually a legless lizard).
  • The Burmese python kills by suffocation, coiling round its prey and squeezing hard. Once dead, the prey is swallowed whole.
  • The story goes that the royal python is called ‘royal’ because African rulers used to wear the (living) snake as jewellery. It is also known as the ‘ball python’ because it coils into a tight ball when threatened.
  • The King rat snake is also known as the ‘stinking goddess’ as it gives off a dreadful odour when threatened.
  • Turquoise dwarf gecko’s attractive coloration and active nature makes them very desirable as pets, and the species is now critically endangered because of illegal collecting for the pet trade.
  • A crocodile has heavily armoured skin and the most powerful bite of any living reptile. It can stay still for hours, then strike at lightning speed.
  • Fossil evidence suggests that birds evolved about 150 million years ago, from fast-running feathered dinosaurs called dromaeosaurs (say DROH-me-o-sores). Their skeletons are very similar and they share many features.
  • Some reptiles are plant eaters, others hunt or scavenge for food. Their skulls and teeth tell us what kind of food they are adapted to eat.
  • Turtles and tortoises have not changed much since they evolved 160 million years ago. They all have shells made of bony plates fused to their ribcage. And they have sharp-edged beaks rather than toothed jaws.

Find out more in Zoorassic World opening July 7th!

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