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Zoo’s herpetarium makeover offers better habits

July 15, 2018

“It’s awesome to have (the zoo) have stuff like this because we’d probably never see them in a lifetime,” Fred Barrera said during a recent zoo visit.

The Barreras were on vacation at South Padre Island when they decided to make the drive to the zoo.

“We’re going to come back again,” Belinda Barrera said. “If you’re going to (the Island), you have to come and see this. It’s worth the drive to come and see this.”

Mangshan pit vipers were discovered recently and can grow up to 8 feet long, according to Zoo Director Patrick Burchfield. They are venomous and come from the Hunan and Guangdong provinces in China.

The zoo has a male and female on display in its new exhibit, which contains a misting and cooling system to accommodate the animals’ needs.

Mangshan pit vipers are classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. They require substantial reduction in ambient temperature in order to cycle for breeding.

In addition to the Mangshan pit vipers, six new or renovated exhibits allowed the zoo to provide better habitats and add new animals, such as Caiman lizards, Gaboon vipers, green tree pythons, West Texas snakes, Mexican jumping vipers and smoky jungle frogs.

jsanchez@brownsvilleherald.com

A more complete version of this story is available on www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com

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