Creature Feature: Haitian Brown Tarantula

Haitian Brown Tarantula

Phormictopus cancerides


Reptiles Alive Name:
 “Charlotte”

Hissstory: Charlotte was transferred to us from another wildlife education organization in 2004.

RA Diet:
 Charlotte eats 1 or 2 crickets every couple of days.

Natural Diet: 
Tarantulas will eat insects, birds, lizards, and even small mammals.
Tarantula_haitian

Range:
 Haitian brown tarantulas naturally occur in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and other parts of the Caribbean .

Habitat: Haitian brown tarantulas enjoy hiding under rocks, in burrows,  and under debris.

Size: 
Haitian brown tarantulas are big spiders – they sometimes grow 7 to 9 inches in diameter!

Lifespan: Male tarantulas may only live 18-24 months, but females can live much longer,  sometimes, over 20 years.

Reproduction:
 Tarantulas construct a golf ball sized egg sac out of silk. The female tarantula will care for her eggs by turning the egg sac on a regular basis. One egg sac may contain over two thousand eggs.

Conservation:
 Tarantulas biggest threat is habitat destruction.  Human fear is also a danger to tarantulas, however, tarantulas rarely harm humans.  Like most wild animals, tarantulas actually fear humans, and will only bite as a defense.  Most species of tarantulas have venom that is no worse than bee venom, so, most tarantulas are harmless to people.

Cool Facts: 
Spider silk (the stuff spiders make into webs) is stronger than steel.  No, really, it’s true!  Scientists have been trying for years to manufacture enough spider silk to manufacture items such diverse items as clothing and cable to make bridges out of.    So far, no one has figured out how make enough spider silk to make anything other than a really expensive scarf.  But maybe someday you could be wearing spider clothes while driving over a spider bridge!

Creature Feature: Desert Kingsnake

Desert Kingsnake (aka California Kingsnake)

Lampropeltis getula californiae

Reptiles Alive Name: “Reno” and “Tahoe”

Hissstory: Reno was found slithering down a street in Annandale, VA – not his natural habitat!  He was either an escaped or abandoned pet, so we gave him a home.  Our albino desert kingsnake Tahoe was an unwanted pet that we adopted.

desert_kingsnake

Reno the Desert Kingsnake

RA Diet: We feed our kingsnakes delicious and nutritious frozen and defrosted mice.

Natural Diet: Kingsnakes eat snakes, lizards, birds, eggs and rodents.

Range: Desert kingsnakes are found in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Oregon.

Habitat: Desert kingsnakes may be found in rocky outcrops and clumps of vegetation in chaparral or desert environments.

Size: Desert kingsnakes grow 24-60 inches long.

albkingfusia06sm

Tahoe, the Albino Desert Kingsnake

Lifespan: Kingsnakes can live to be over 20 years old. 

Reproduction: Females lays 2-24 eggs which hatch in about 2 months.

Cool Facts: The kingsnake is the “king of snakes” because it will eat other snakes – even venomous rattlesnakes! Scientists believe kingsnakes have immunity to the venom of the rattlesnakes found in their own home range,  so the kingsnake can be bitten and envenomated with no ill effects.

Creature Feature: Superworms

Superworms (aka Darkling Beetles)

Zophobas morio

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Reptiles Alive Name: Too many to name!

Hissstory: We purchase our superworms from an insect “farm” that caters to zoos and other animal related organizations.

RA Diet: Our superworms dine on oatmeal, whole wheat bread, greens and other veggies.

Natural Diet: Superworms will eat just about anything.

Range: Zophobas beetles are found in Tropical Central & South America.  (Beetles are found in every continent except Antarctica)

Habitat: They love to hide in rotting logs and leaves.

Size: Superworms can grow to 2 inches long and can be as thick as a pencil.

Lifespan: From egg to beetle, superworms have a total lifespan of about 1 year.

Reproduction: Female darkling beetles lay eggs, which hatch out into tiny, baby superworms. The superworms will molt many times as they grow.  After a few months of growing, they morph into a pupae form, (what I like to call the “alien stage”) and emerge as a black beetle called the darkling beetle.  Superworms will only morph into a pupae form if they are “stressed” such as lacking food and water. The larvae will turn into a pupae when food and water are scarce; a perfect time because pupae do not need to eat or drink. Then, the superworms emerge as beetles at a time when food and water are plentiful.

Conservation: As decomposers, superworms are extremely beneficial recyclers of organic material.   They are also a tasty treat for many animals and, even some humans!

Cool Facts: In many countries, superworms and mealworms are cooked and eaten by humans. They are healthy and a valuable source of protein. Taste a little like almonds. (No really, they are delicious.)

Creature Feature: Russian Tortoise

Russian Tortoise

Testudo horsfieldii

Reptiles Alive Name: “Russiano”

Hissstory: Russiano came to Reptiles Alive in May 2001 when his owner decided tortoises do not make good pets.

RA Diet: Grasses, leafy greens, veggies, and commercial zoo tortoise food pellets.

Natural Diet: Grasses, plants, and flowers.

Range: Central Asia:  Russian Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Western China, and Iran.

Habitat:
 These hardy tortoises dwell in deserts and dry grasslands with sparse vegetation.

Size: Russian tortoises are relatively small tortoises.  They can grow up to about 8  inches long.

Lifespan:
 As with many tortoises these can live over 50 years.

russian_tortoise


Reproduction: 
Russian tortoises breed soon after they emerge from hibernation. They lay 1-5 large eggs which hatch in 8-12 weeks.

Conservation:
 Most Russian tortoises sold as pets in the United States have been captured in the wild by commercial animal collectors and then sold into the pet trade.  Due to improper care, most pet tortoises suffer from a variety of diseases, bone deformities,  and many die from lack of care.

Cool Facts: Russian tortoises are great at tunneling and digging.  With their powerful arms and long, tough claws, they are able to dig burrows long enough and deep enough to survive the extreme heat and cold of the dry grasslands and deserts where they live.

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UPCOMING EVENTS

  1. Fall for Fairfax KIDSFEST with Reptiles Alive!

    September 30 @ 12:30 pm - 3:45 pm
  2. Showcase Event in Rockville

    October 2 @ 10:30 am - 10:45 am
We had a great experience with Reptiles Alive for my daughter’s 6th birthday party. Rachel arrived exactly on time, set up quickly, and immediately engaged the group of curious children. We had an impromptu dance party while waiting for last minute guests and Rachel was very accommodating. The children LOVED the show!! And my soon-to-be 11 year old wants them to come for his birthday! I highly recommend Reptiles Alive for your next event!read more

Kelly Maguire

Kelly Maguire

22:57 12 Mar 18

We just had Reptiles Alive come to our preschool and the kids loved it!! We had 4 shows over 2 days to accommodate all our children and everything went great! Caroline was very easy to work with and quick to respond to all my emails. She was our presenter too and was early each day and ready to go when the kids arrived. She really geared her show towards our audience (2-5yr olds) and had them laughing and answering her questions and touching the animals. It was perfect… we would definitely book them again!!read more

Lauren Dolinski

Lauren Dolinski

20:47 01 Mar 18

We booked Reptiles Alive for our son’s 7th birthday party. Miss Rachel put on an amazing show for the 20 kids we had over. The highlight was when my son and I had the chance to hold a long and surprisingly heavy boa constrictor named Sunflower. The show was both educational and fun for the kids, and it kept them captivated for a full hour – priceless!!read more

Rick Jandrain

Rick Jandrain

01:53 06 Feb 18

Rachel is an awesome instructor and very good with many kids. The reptiles were fascinating. This was a great birthday party for my daughter and her second grade class.read more

Robert McKeon

Robert McKeon

23:26 26 Feb 18

We invited Reptiles Alive for our birthday party. Ms. Rachel did a wonderful job to educate the kids about the fun facts of Reptiles and also kept them entertained and focused. It’s not a easy job facing a bunch of 7-year-old boys and 3-year-old preschoolers. We highly recommend Reptiles Alive show. It’s fun and full of knowledge!read more

Tianchan Niu

Tianchan Niu

22:09 17 Dec 17

We had Reptiles Alive join us for a country club event and they did an outstanding job! Ashley was amazing and so professional. She was very interactive with the children and played the role perfectly. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience!read more

Chelsea Barb

Chelsea Barb

20:20 28 Mar 18

We’ve been working with Reptiles Alive for the past 4 years now and they show up and show out every time. Everything from booking to the day of is efficient and friendly. At our past event, presenter Liz did 6 shows back to back for our campers, which is truly impressive and phenomenal. We will continue to work with Reptiles Alive for years to come and really appreciate the work and educating that they do!read more

Lydia Vanderbilt

Lydia Vanderbilt

21:09 05 Apr 18

Reptiles Alive gave an awesome show at our elementary school! The presenter was so much fun and really engaged the children. Very cool reptiles and a great interactive meet and greet at the end. The kids loved it!read more

Jonathan Grau

Jonathan Grau

14:52 07 Apr 18

I am in charge of grade level assemblies at our school and our 3rd grade has RA in for their Rain Forest show every year to reinforce the things they have learned about in class. This is my second year working with them and I have been absolutely thrilled with the interaction to book the event and with the presenters. They engage the kids and help make them a part of the show. I can’t say enough about this wonderful program and the amazing people that work there.read more

Kim Painter

Kim Painter

23:32 07 Apr 18

We love this show at our preschool!! The kids have so much fun and learn a lot! They are very organized and always start on time. We have always had a wonderful experience with Reptiles Alive and can’t wait to have them back again!read more

Melissa Jones

Melissa Jones

15:06 20 Apr 18

Reptiles Alive LLC visited our 1st grade friends and did the “Reptiles Alive!” show. They exceeded all of our expectations and were excellent at keeping the students engaged. The students have talked about it for days after, even repeating some of the facts they have heard! I would highly recommend Reptiles Alive!read more

Brittney Gjorgjievski

Brittney Gjorgjievski

16:12 14 May 18

Reptiles Alive was a MAJOR hit at the Mattie Miracle Walk & Family Festival. Rachel was incredibly professional, engaging, and clearly loves what she does. She made the show and meet & greet fun for both kids and adults. Can’t wait to have Reptiles Alive back next year to our event. We received a lot of positive feedback from our guests and we were thrilled to see how well attended the show was at our event. Thank you Reptiles Alive!!!read more

Peter Brown

Peter Brown

01:58 22 May 18

Caroline did an awesome job for our kindergarten Reptiles Alive performance. She held their attention and told fun stories. The reptiles are so cool! Every time she introduced a new reptile, the kids were amazed. I recommend the “meet and greet” time as well. My students will never forget touching a boa constrictor! Thanks Reptiles Alive!read more

Michelle Baldwin

Michelle Baldwin

03:00 09 Jun 18

Reptiles Alive! came to our elementary school for a 3rd grade assembly. Nothing ruffles this organization — they can handle kids of all ages, big groups or small, and bring a *ton* of animals. They are engaging, age-appropriate and bring their own mic system so hearing is not a problem. I highly recommend the meet and greet afterward.read more

Stacey Evers

Stacey Evers

19:25 22 Jun 18

The show was a success, we had around 20 kids between 5-12. Lizzard Liz was great, she was able to keep all of them really interested. The reptiles were amazing, she even brought a small alligator and a boa constrictor.read more

florencia behrensen

florencia behrensen

14:39 02 Jul 18

Caroline at Reptiles Alive! always gives us the best show! It is fun and informative with a variety of reptiles each time she comes. We LOVE Reptiles Alive at Happy Faces Daycare in Centreville, VA!read more

Jessica Roberts

Jessica Roberts

13:56 12 Jul 18

Amazing 5-year old birthday party- Everyone loved the party, especially the birthday boy, who got to be the star of the show (besides the critters). Liz was on time, prepared, AMAZING at answering kids’ and adults’ questions, incredible breadth of knowledge, so good with the kids and animals, made the party fun, arrived on time, totally professional and courteous and an amazing ambassador of animals and representative of Reptiles Alive. We got to meet a few great snakes, a small alligator, a boa constrictor(!), tree frog, bearded dragon, gecko, and turtle.read more

Stacey R

Stacey R

12:55 30 Jul 18

This organization is great! They have a wide varieties of different shows that appeal to all types of audiences. The educators are very gentle with the animals and engaging with the students. Our educator, Caroline, was awesome! She spoke to the children in different voices, was very interactive, creative, and fun. The kids laughed and loved it. I also really liked the additional education that they provided us, as they told us about the origin of the animals that they were showing. It was also really nice to hear that not only the animals have big, safe, appropriate homes, but also that a great deal of their animals are rescues. I would highly recommend this show and we will definitely be booking them again in the future!read more

Mandi Ellis

Mandi Ellis

13:05 08 Aug 18