Reptile House

A Chinese giant salamander arrives at ZSL London Zoo

Enter the Reptile House to find ZSL London Zoo's amazing collection of reptiles and amphibians, including snakes, lizards, frogs and crocodiles!

Endangered big headed turtle

Reptile House

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A blue monitor lizard at ZSL London Zoo

Blue monitor lizards are known for their amazing ability to problem solve.

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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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The new and improved amphibian exhibit focuses on the evolution of amphibians; their astounding diversity and adaptability; the threats they face in the wild; and how ZSL is working to conserve them.

From salamanders to worm-like caecilians, fascinating newts and charismatic tree frogs, the new Amphibian Wing shows how varied amphibians can be.

The Conservation In Action Lab allows visitors to engage with ZSL zookeepers and scientists who are conducting research for Mallorcan midwife toads, Sardinian brook salamanders and Lake Oku frogs to investigate the effects of the deadly chytridiomycosis, a fungal pathogen which is driving amphibian population declines around the world. This research is imperative to developing techniques and treatments for use in the field to help save wild populations of amphibians from the imminent risk of extinction.

Early amphibians

Early amphibians evolved from fish who used fins like legs...

375 million years ago, long before the dinosaurs, the ancestors of amphibians developed from fish that used their fins like legs to walk along the sea bed.

First creatures to walk on four legs on land were amphibians...

These ancient amphibians were the first animals to walk on four legs on land. They adapted to many different environments, and evolved into the predecessors of most land-dwelling creatures, including the dinosaurs.

Our hands and feet evolved from same bone structures as amphibians...

As they share a common ancestor, today's amphibians are surprisingly similar to other types of land animals.

Aquatic and terrestrial lifestyle...

The word 'amphibians' means 'two lives'. As many live mainly on land but need water in which to breed and raise tadpoles, they really do lead a double life.

Illustrations of what some prehistoric amphibians may have looked like:

Illustrations of what some prehistoric amphibians may have looked like

Philippine Water Monitor Hatching at ZSL London Zoo

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A cobalt bolt blue lizard sits on a broken tree branch on the left of the image. A baby big-headed turtle sits in an enclosure on the right side of the image.

Get ready to be wowed by the weird and wonderful, as we prepare to bring you The Secret Life of Reptiles and Amphibians.

Representing some of the world’s most astonishing diversity, residents in the new purpose-built space at London Zoo will include the world’s largest amphibian and largest aquatic frog!

Delve into the secretive habits of these remarkable animals as they blend expertly into their environments – hidden in leaves and branches or just beneath the water’s surface. See through the eyes of a scientist as you learn about the surprising ways reptiles and amphibians survive and reproduce in their unusual habitats. Look through X-Rays in the lab, record scientific observations and even learn how to swab a frog to detect diseases.

secret life of reptiles

Follow in the footsteps of conservationists and venture into the field. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open as you listen for the weird and wonderful sounds frogs use to communicate, spot animals among the branches and hop into a canoe to meet a Philippine crocodile. Find out about the exciting – and crucial –conservation work happening around the world to save reptiles and amphibians on the brink of extinction.

The Secret Life of Reptiles and Amphibians is currently under construction in Barclay Court in the centre of London Zoo. Keep an eye on this page to stay tuned to stay up to date and be the first to hear when we’re opening. Our salamanders, lizards and snakes will be expecting you!

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Ribbit-ing wildlife to inspire you at every turn

African Bullfrog looking for a name

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