ZSL London Zoo breeds rare rhino snakes for second time
Friday 4 October 2013
Rare rhino rat snakes have hatched a new brood at ZSL London Zoo.
Four years after being the first European zoo to successful breed rhino rat snakes, ZSL London Zoo has successfully delivered its second brood of rare rhino rat snakes (Rhynchophis boulengeri).
Six hatchlings emerged on August 30th, following the efforts of ZSL London Zoo’s Reptile House.
Ben Tapley, Head of Reptiles, has said the new snakes are very important to the zoo and the conservation programs the hatchlings will eventually join.
“When the hatchlings grow up some will be featured in our exhibit, others we will trade with other zoos so we can get new blood lines in for our breeding group.”
Rhino rat snakes are feature on the IUCN red list of threatened species, yet very little is known about them.
Part of their mystery comes from their distinguishing long pointed noses. Experts are still unsure why they sport this unique feature. There are several theories, one is that it is for camouflage, yet others belief that the shape helps funnel water into the snake’s mouth.
This horn like nose has earned the species the nickname ‘green unicorns’. The hatchlings will develop the famous bright green hue once they reach maturity at around one year of age.
Visitors can learn more about the rhino rat snake, and other fascinating reptiles, in ZSL London Zoo’s Reptile House .