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Plan Your Visit to Edinburgh Zoo
We are open every day of the year, including Christmas Day, from 9am until:
|6.00pm||April - Sept.|
|5.00pm||Oct. & March|
|4.30pm||Nov. - Feb.|
*Please Note- The Reptile House is now closed. This is due to the building of our new world class Budongo Trail chimpanzee exhibit. Look out for exciting new changes in Edinburgh Zoo as our Masterplan begins.
The earliest reptile fossils date back some 340 million years, and of today’s backboned animals, reptiles were first to evolve characteristics that allowed a truly land-dwelling lifestyle. One such feature was what perhaps makes reptiles relatively easy to recognise: a seamless body covering of scales that prevents moisture loss.
While the ‘Age of Reptiles’ ended with the mass extinction of 65 million years ago, when some 65-70% of all species died out, they nevertheless remain a highly successful group. Reptiles dominate certain habitats – deserts, for example – and there are more species of reptile alive today (~7,700) than there are mammals (~4,600).
In addition to ‘waterproofing’, two features connected with reproduction were necessary before the land could be properly colonised: internal fertilisation and a shelled egg, impermeable to water.
The number of eggs laid can vary from one, in some freshwater turtles, to 200-plus in their marine cousins. While the female chooses a suitable site (buried in sand, in rotting vegetation, etc), relatively few reptiles provide the kind of parental care birds do, although there are notable exceptions, such as crocodiles.
As cold-blooded animals, reptiles rely on external energy sources – usually the sun – to warm their bodies. Very few species are found, therefore, in cold habitats. On the other hand, compared with birds and mammals, their food requirements are minimal and they can exploit environments where supplies are few and far between.
Corn snake Corn snake, Elaphe guttata, snakes Corn snake Grassland,Woodland No North America The corn snake (Elaphe guttata), also known
Royal python Royal python, python regius, pythons Royal python Grassland No Africa Royal pythons (Python regius) come from sub-Saharan Africa.