• During the last week of September, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority holds a snake-catcher course at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. All the snakes used for demonstration and teaching in the course are usually snakes from our reptile collection. This year, however, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority needed species of snakes that we didn't have in our collection, so it trapped snakes of those species and gave them to us. After the course is over we will keep them here, for purposes of teaching and education.

  • Our large reptile collection was used recently by Jonathan Goldenberg, a PhD student at Ghent University, Belgium. Jonathan is studying the thermal properties and the evolution of the colored integument of Squamates. The aim of Jonathan's study is to unveil how future climatic projections will shape the distribution of these animals. His study is part of a larger research project, in which researchers are seeking to understand how the brightness of reptile skin undergoes change as a result of various environmental pressures.  Using the information gathered, the researchers are building a model capable of predicting how the different species will cope with climate change.  In the Zoological Garden, Barak Levi, one of our animal keepers, and Karen Bisschop, a student from Ghent University, assisted Jonathan to take reflectance measurements from 30 different species of snakes and lizards, using a spectrophotometer. The measurements were taken from both sides of the animals and, when measuring the venomous snakes, tubes were used to contain the snake, according to its thickness and length.  This proved to be an interesting and exceptional experience for all parties involved.
  • Reproduction in the reptile yard! At the beginning of September, Barak Levi found in the wedge-snouted skink's (Sphenops sepsoides) enclosure a young skink. In this species the females do not lay eggs but produce live individuals.
measuring reptiles