San Antonio Zoo Reports Scaly Birth Boom
The San Antonio Zoo reports its been busy in recent weeks with multiple births and hatchings, including fish, reptiles and amphibians.
Three rare Mexican lance-headed rattlesnakes were born this summer as part of the Species Survival Program. An association of zoos participate in the program to successfully breed in captivity animals that are threatened, endangered or extinct in the wild. Some species can then be reintroduced into the wild.
The zoo's director of herpetology Brian Eisele said the habitat of the lance-headed rattlesnakes in Central Mexico has been disappearing.
"It was beautiful lush green fields and now that area is a housing development, so these animals are losing habitat due to development," he said.
The short, brown, venomous viper lives in rocky outcroppings in grasslands and forests. The new births are the first of their kind at the zoo since 2007.
Meanwhile, more than 100 La Palma pupfish and nearly 100 Charco Palma have been produced. Both have not been seen in their native small and shallow freshwater ponds of Nuevo Leon, Mexico since 1994 and '95 respectively.
Nelson Narcucci is the zoo's aquarium director.
"They're just the most adorable fish you will ever see and we do have them on exhibit over at the creature aquarium here at San Antonio Zoo," he said. "They're just a really cool, very metallic blue-looking fish, Very energetic. They have tons of personality. They're just a great fish."
Narcucci said they are building an "insurance" colony of the fish at the zoo and combined with the efforts of others, the pupfish may be reintroduced
into the wild.
The zoo is still in the midst of its busy summer season with many schools still out. Currently, active teachers can enter for free and bring four friends to receive 50%
discounts on their tickets
Pedro Olivarez, the zoos' director of guest experience, said unvaccinated guests are strongly encouraged to wear masks.
He said visitation levels are up this summer, but they're not back yet to where they were.
"I don't know that I can say that they are back to pre-pandemic levels, but we are happy to see that families are wanting to come out and visit us," he said. "Again, you know, it has been an interesting summer. We are making sure that safety is a priority."
In a non-pandemic year, the zoo attracts around 1 million visitors with most of them in the summer months.
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