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Scales and Tales

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Reptile Gardens' Green Team - Recycle and Reuse

Here at Reptile Gardens, we learn a lot from our animal friends. For instance, did you know that many snake species lie absolutely motionless for long periods of time after a big meal? In large pythons it can be weeks! The snakes take a siesta, because energy is precious to cold-blooded animals, and they can conserve this energy by eliminating all unnecessary movement. We've taken this lesson to heart, and have organized a "Green Team" to identify ways to eliminate waste, and conserve resources around the Gardens.

Our Green Team, led by Assistant Manger Clint Hubbeling, has come up with a number of great ideas to conserve, such as: Reusing office paper by printing on both sides of the paper.

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Our Name Has Two Parts, What About Those "Gardens"?

Every year, something beautiful happens at Reptile Gardens. An army of gardeners descends upon the grounds, and transforms the winter barren flowerbeds into a fragrant sea of stunning annual flowers. Our gardeners plant over 40,000 annuals, and hundreds of perennial species as well. While many people know that Reptile Gardens is home to the world's largest reptile collection, folks are often pleasantly surprised to learn that our grounds are a botanical-lovers paradise as well.
Guests often ask our gardeners for advice and ideas on plant species selection and general care. To transform your backyard into a private oasis, our resident expert "green-thumb" David Yahne details a few favorite plant species which thrive in the Dakota climate.


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Reptile Gardens Coloring Contest Winners

Categories: General
Winners of the Reptile Gardens Coloring Contest Announced

June 2010 — Despite the lack of sunshine, Reptile Gardens had a great turn out for their 73rd Guest Appreciation Weekend, Birthday Party for their beloved giant tortoise Methuselah, and Coloring Contest.


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It is Spider Season! Black Widows and their Friends.



Black Widow showing belly marking, not always a perfect hourglass.


As warm weather approaches, we start getting calls about spiders and odd bugs people find in their garages, storage sheds, yards, and houses. The most common calls we get are in regard to spiders, especially black widows, brown recluse and a mysterious GIANT! spider that seems to strike fear in all who see one. The latter would be the common wolf spider.

Out of the tens of thousands of spiders in the world, only a few are dangerous to humans. The most common dangerously venomous spiders in the US are the Black Widow, the Brown Recluse, and the Hobo spider - and they rarely bite people. Far more people die each year of bee and wasp stings that from spider bites. And by the way, it is just a myth that the common daddy longlegs spider is extremely deadly - there is no scientific evidence to back up this fanciful tale.


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Reptile Gardens...or United Nations?

Many people do not know that the Black Hills was one of the top finalists in the search for a location for the United Nations.

The beginnings of what was to become the United Nations were set in motion back in 1941. By 1942 the term United Nations, coined by Franklin Roosevelt, was first used. Over the next few years the UN Charter was created and ratified and a search was begun for a place to house this new international organization.


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Mac the Scarlet Macaw

Mac the Scarlet Macaw posing for one of his many portraits


On Wednesday, 10 March, we lost one of the very few living creatures that has been at Reptile Gardens longer than even us long-timers, Mac our Scarlet Macaw.

Like most parrots in the days before wildlife laws and captive breeding, Mac was captured in the wild, in South America. He was brought to the US in the early 1950's and arrived here at Reptile Gardens as a large adult bird in 1956. We estimate his age at the time of his death to have been over 70 years.

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GIANT RATTLESNAKES!

The Internet Such a Resource!?

Sometimes the internet is a great source of information and sometimes...well...it is like the National Enquirer. If you are not intimately involved in a particular area of study it can be pretty hard to know the difference when reading things online or seeing them on TV. To make matters more complicated, most of us (me included) tend to be pretty trusting anyway. When it comes to reptiles and amphibians, you can count on the staff at Reptile Gardens for the true facts, no sensational tabloid-style lies or exaggerations from us.


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HOW TO CARE FOR A DEAD TREE

Categories: General
This week I am posting a column written 44 years ago by long-time Reptile Gardens General Manager, Jim Campbell. In 1965, Reptile Gardens ran a series of newspaper columns in celebration of the move to our new location on Highway 16. For our first 28 years we had been closer to town but were forced to move when the highway was widened and moved.

Safari Room in 1965




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About Us

Sky Dome

Step inside the Sky Dome to experience a warm tropical climate while exploring our indoor jungle filled with exotic and unique flora and fauna. 

Rattlesnake Gulch

Try your hand at gemstone sluicing or go on a 3D safari. Our very own old west ghost town as numerous photo opportunities and activities to keep the kids entertained.

Cheyenne's Habitat

Cheyenne the bald eagle has been a permanent resident of Reptile Gardens for 11 years with permission of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Maniac's habitat

Maniac is our resident giant saltwater crocodile. At over 16 feet long and1,350pounds, he is one of the largest giant crocodiles in the western hemisphere. If you don't see him at his enclosure inside the SkyDome, make sure to check outside!

Prairie Dog Town

Get down to eye-level with these fuzzy little animals and see firsthand what life is like in a typical prairie dog town!

Methuselah's Playground

Methuselah was a giant Galapagos Tortoise weighing in at over 600 pounds, and a long time resident of Reptile Gardens. His memory lives on at this playground featuring a bronze statue of Methuselah himself. 

Snake Show stage

Get up-close-and-personal with our snake ambassadors in this family-friendly snake handling show.

Gator Show stage

Dozens of Alligators, Crocodiles, and Caimans and one keeper...what could go wrong? Separate fact from fiction in this educational, family-friendly show and get a chance to pet Fluffy, our baby gator!

Bird Show stage

Interact with birds from around the world at the Bird Show, where they love to show off their beauty and intelligence. 

Gift Shop

Carrying a wide variety of Reptile Gardens souvenirs as well as educational books for every age and a variety of stunning rocks, minerals, and fossils from all over the world.

Green Parrot Cafe

Hungry? Refuel with buffalo burgers, The Maniac burger, Black Mamba Shakes, Indian Tacos, and more!

Giant Tortoise

Don't miss this photo opportunity! Get up-close and personal with these friendly giants who love to have their neck scratched and are great with kids. 

Tortuga Falls

Take a stroll through this meditative garden, gaze into our turtle and koi pond, listen to the waterfalls, and don't miss Darwin the Kookaburra! 

Walking Garden

We're about more than just Reptiles! Our outdoor gardens are beauty to be seen as they change throughout the season and year after year. 

Living Wall

This vertical garden is a wall of color that grows and changes through the Summer season creating striking patterns and unique portraits as it grows. 

Pet A Python

Don't miss your chance to Pet a Python!  Our snake handlers ar here to talk about any questions or myths you've heard about snakes. Don't forget your camera! Our pythons are very photogenic and love to photos with you!