New Herptile Habitat Opens at the Ark Encounter

by Ken Ham on June 26, 2024
Featured in Ken Ham Blog

We have some new faces at the Ark Encounter’s Ararat Ridge Zoo! We just opened a new South American herptile (amphibian and reptile) habitat, located across from our popular sloth habitat. You’ll love meeting two South American giants: Chewlius Caesar the northern caiman lizard and Wrangler the green anaconda.

Now, they’re not quite giants yet. Chewlius is only a year old, and Wrangler is about seven months old. But Chewlius may grow up to 4 feet long, and Wrangler may grow up to 10 feet long.

  • New herptile habitats
  • Northern Caiman lizard habitat
  • Northern Caiman lizard
  • Northern Caiman lizard
  • Green Anaconda habitat
  • Green anaconda
  • Green anaconda

Here’s what our zookeepers shared with me about these new arrivals. Northern caiman lizards belong to the whiptail lizard kind, just like the tegus we already have in the zoo. Similar to caimans, they have a semiaquatic lifestyle, powerful jaws for hunting in our fallen world, and strong tails for swimming and defense. They are also excellent climbers. Look for Chewlius basking on a branch or submerged underwater during your visit. He is joined in his habitat by anole lizards.

Green anacondas belong to the true boa created kind, just like our boa constrictor and rainbow boas we already have at the zoo. While green anacondas are the largest snakes in the world, it’s the females that grow to giant sizes, not the males.

Though sluggish on land, green anacondas are fast in the water and spend most of their time submerged with only their nostrils and eyes exposed. While the original diet of snakes would have been plants, today this species can eat prey up to 50% of their own size and may go months without eating after a large meal. Look for Wrangler in his pool during your visit. He is joined in his habitat by four species of colorful poison dart frogs.

The grassy yard behind Chewlius and Wrangler is now being used as a rotating reptile habitat for our ambassador reptiles. You may see our large lizards or tortoises exploring there on warm days.

To learn more about our reptiles, check out our many live animal programs offered this summer at the Ark Encounter! Schedules and themes can be found online: Your visit to our zoo, which is located behind the life-size Noah’s Ark, is included with your Ark admission.

Don’t forget—kids 10 and under enjoy free admission! Plan your visit at

Oh, and follow our Ararat Ridge Zoo Facebook page to enjoy photos of our zoo animals.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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