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Scales and Tales

Category > Reptiles

Birds Eye View from Reptile Gardens

Hello all animal and plant lovers/nerds!


All of the staff and animals here at Reptile Gardens are just now settling down for, what appears to be, a chilly winter season. Everything is starting to shift gears from our busy fall schedule to an all ready chock full winter list of chores and updates!



boa Soaking up some sun in the dome.


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Antivenin vs Antivenom

Categories: Snakes, Reptiles

In conversation with friends and Guests it occurred to me recently that the average person knows virtually nothing about antivenoms. Not that most people should, it really doesn't impact their lives. However, I have also found most people are quite fascinated when I tell them about this unique medicine.



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HOW BIG IS BIG? Facts from the World's Largest Reptile Zoo about Giant Reptiles and Snakes. — PART 2

As I mentioned in the first part of this post last week, our reward sign exists mostly to make a point that most reptile zoos fail to mention: not how big reptiles really get, but how big they really don't get.


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HOW BIG IS BIG? Facts from the World's Largest Reptile Zoo about Giant Snakes and Reptiles. — Part 1

Categories: Snakes, Reptiles
We have a sign on the grounds—which can also be seen on our website—that lists various reptiles and how much we would pay for really large specimens. We've had many thousands of questions over the years about this sign. One of the reasons we've had so many questions about how large reptiles (especially giant snakes) can get is because their size may be the single most misunderstood thing about these already very misunderstood animals.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake Western Diamondback Rattlesnake



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I Just Found a Deadly Coral Snake...Well No, Not in South Dakota You Didn't.

 

Pale Milksnake

One of the most common snakes in South Dakota, west of the Missouri River, is a little-seen snake called the Pale Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum multistriata). These snakes are surprisingly common around here but are very secretive and so, people are often not familiar with them. They love the rains in the spring and fall, which increases the likelihood of encounters with humans.



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Hold My Beer and Watch This!

So, now that we know how to avoid rattlesnakes and what to do if we encounter one. What should we do if we don't follow Terry's advice and leave all snakes alone? What if the odd encounter happens where we unknowingly step on or sit next to a rattlesnake and the unfortunate occurs?


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Why in MY Yard?

Snakes are an integral part of our ecosystem and are, in fact, the number one predator of rodents and other little creatures we consider pests. These pests can be carriers of even nastier pests and diseases. So, in fact, we should be grateful for our legless neighbors.


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Springtime Means Warmth and Flowers and, Yes, Rattlesnakes

It's that time of year again — Spring in Western South Dakota. Our spring brings rain (maybe), sunshine, green grass, the occasional snowstorm, tourists, and of course rattlesnakes.

Pretty soon we will start getting frantic phone calls from local folk with snakes in their yard and from animal control with rattlesnakes in buckets that they got from those same yards. We will hear from people asking how to avoid them when hiking, camping and fishing, from those who want to know how to keep rattlesnakes out of houses, garages and yards, and, of course, what to do if they encounter a snake.


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Featured Reptile of the Week

Featured reptile of the week: the Fiji Iguana. Good work everyone, my 'Who Am I' post from the other day is indeed a Fiji Iguana. It is, in fact, a hybrid Banded/Crested Fiji Iguana and is on loan to us from the San Diego Zoo - which is working closely with the Finjian government on conservation of these critically endangered lizards. The main threat to these lizards is habitat destruction, much of it from goats released on their islands.


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Hey, Where's Your Top 10 Most Deadly Snakes List?

Rhinoceros Viper


For many years we had an immensely popular "Top Ten Most Venomous Snakes" list posted here at the Reptile Gardens and, subsequently, on our web site. Many of you remember this list and have asked about it. We get thousands of web search hits to our site every year looking for just such a list.


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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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"Protecting Your Family, Pets and Livestock from Snakes"

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake


This is part 3 of our answer to a recent question involving increased snake activity in the Black Hills. If you missed them, read Part 1 and Part 2 . This time we'll give you some advice on how to protect yourself and your animals from snakes.


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More Rattlesnakes in the Black Hills

RattlesnakeRattlesnake


A recent question about rattlesnakes prompted us to write this post, since we figured it may be helpful to many people in the Black Hills area.

The question involved concerns that there has been an increase in the population of rattlesnakes, or that there was a nearby den of snakes that contributed to increased snake encounters and danger to children and pets.


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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!