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September 28, 2020

Sheltopusik 

Animal husbandry is an evolving science that requires in-depth knowledge of the species' natural history. Often, as is the case with many reptiles, data is lacking on species specific parameters, so animal care staff have to use the data that is known from their environments and similar species to develop standards of care. At the Charles H. Hoessle Herpetarium, animal care staff are constantly improving the care for the over 85 species on display to the public as new information is presented. This information can come from studies on wild specimens, other zoological institutions or our very own research within the Herpetarium.   

A great example of a species that recently underwent some husbandry changes are the sheltopusik, or glass lizards. These unique legless lizards are on display at the Herpetarium and had a nice new fabricated rock outcrop designed by one of the Herpetarium's animal care professionals, Justin Elden. This fabrication, made in-house by the Zoo's talented Facilities Maintenance Department, allows the lizards to climb to different levels within their habitat, accessing different levels of UV light and heat. Additionally, this rock work included a nesting area designed to replicate what is known about nest sites chosen by sheltopusik in the wild. #BringTheStlZooToYou 
 
Photos: Justin Elden