History of the Reptile House

The Reptile House you can visit at ZSL London Zoo today was built in 1926. It was erected on the site of the Ape House, and two other Reptile Houses had existed previously, the first erected in 1849 (before ZSL London Zoo had even opened to the public) and the second in 1882.

The reptile house at ZSL London Zoo

The building itself was desiged by Dr Joan Beauchamp Procter, Curator of Reptiles, with the architect Sir Edward Guy Dawber. The reptile sculptures at the entrance to the building are by the sculptur George Alexander. At the time, the building was hailed as one of the most sophisticated building of its type in the world.

Among other key features, the Reptile House has differentiated heating to provide "hot spots" for the reptiles and "aquarium principle" lighting which means the visitors walk around in relative darkness and lighting highlights the animals in their environments.

A famous scene from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was filmed in the Reptile House in November 2001. In the scene, a burmese python speaks to Harry Potter, played by Daniel Radcliffe for the first time. In fact, the enclosure filmed is actually home to our black mamba.

Close up of King cobra

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