2018-01-24 12:39 | https://www.haus-des-meeres.at/en/Our-Animals/Zoo-animals/Terrarium-Animals.htm
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Terrarium Animals

In the terrarium section you can find various tarantulas and frogs, but mainly reptiles. Turtles, snakes, lizards and crocodiles count among them.


No matter where those turtle species live – if in freshwater or seawater – they breathe air and need to come to lay eggs on dry land.

European pond turtle species (these turtles are mainly carnivorous) they hunt fish, worms and snails. However their diet contains plants as well.

Mata Mata

One of the most curious turtles is the Mata Mata, found in South America. Its nostrils are prolonged upwards so that the turtle doesn’t have to stick out its head out of water.


Crocodiles count without a doubt among the biggest reptiles in the world, even though they are generically closer to birds. In the Haus des Meeres you can meet a representative of Alligators, specifically the South African Yacare Kaiman. This maximally 3 m long reptile counts among the smallest in its family.


Snakes – the jaws are not firmly connected with a joint, but only with muscles and sinews so that they can swallow the prey in one piece.

The common egg eater

These snakes feed exclusively on eggs, more specifically on birds‘eggs. The snake crashes the egg with its muscles and swallows the content. The shell is spit out later.

Snakes are divided into five families:


These snakes live in Africa, Australia and Asia. Boas inhabit mainly the American continent and  all representatives of this species are not venomous – they kill by constriction.


The genuine Colubrids don’t have any venomous glans or teeth, however the representatives of the venomous Colubrids do. The fangs are placed in the back of their mouth.

Venomous Colubrids

Cobras are the most known representatives of this family. They have two fixed fangs in the front of the mouth that channel venom into the prey, and which they can’t retract.


Mambas count among the venomous colubrids too, however they can retract their teeth. There are four different species, all living in South or Central Africa. The biggest of them – the black mamba – can get 4 m long.


Also all vipers are venomous. Unlike the venomous colubrids they can retract their teeth. Therefore these snakes can develop long fangs. The fangs of a 2 m long gaboon viper are approximately 4 cm. 

Pit vipers

All representatives of this family are venomous.
This family is evolutionary the most developed one. They have a special organ - loreal pits - through which they can detect even one thousandth of Celsius degree difference and therefore successfully hunt in the night.

Generally snakes (also lizards and many mammals) have so called Jacobson’s organ. They stick out their tongue to gather scents and then touch it to the organ in their mouth, (which lies close to nasal bones) and so they can detect a pray.


Two families of lizards are worth mentioning: Geckos and chameleons. They are mostly night active, except Phelsuma – the day gecko, inhabiting Madagascar. 


New studies show that changing of color is not related to blending in with the surroundings. They express their mood through it.

They can move their eyes separately which enables them 360° view.
The stickiness of their tongue is a rumor – such tongue would be definitely very practical for every hunt, however latest back in the mouth with the pray, it would cause difficulties.
It’s actually much simpler: At the tip of the tongue, there are specially developed muscles which wrap around the prey. The chameleon has to relax those muscles when the tongue is restricted.


The biggest, not extinct representative of this species is the Chinese giant salamander. It can exceptionally reach length of 1,8 m. In his habitat, China, this amphibian lives in cold clean rivers or lakes, where the temperature doesn’t surpass 15°C. Salamander lies still in wait for fish or crabs.

Poison dart frogs

Poison dart frogs, native to Central and South America, secrete toxins from their skin, which strongly influence nerve system. They’re called “dart frogs” because the Amerindians use the toxic secrets to poison the tip of blowdarts.


None of this species representative is so venomous that one bite would be fatal to humans.

Gilla monsters

Gilla monsters inhabit the desert of Sonora in Mexico, grow up to 60cm and feed on small vertebrates.

Their venom is not too strong, therefore they have extremely powerful bite so that they can inject a sufficient amount into the prey.
The venom, so called Gila toxin, is a neurotoxin, which causes pain, swellings, nausea, blood circulation problems and under certain circumstances it can be even fatal for humans (without medical treatment). 


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