The Zoo houses a wide variety of reptiles such a snakes, lizards, tortoises and crocodiles as well as a number of amphibian species. This specialized collection house specimens from around the globe ranging from South Africa to North Africa reaching Asian, South America as well as North America. With unique and specially designed enclosures to cater for all the husbandry requirements of each species, one can experience the trilling sights' of some of the world's most venomous snakes such as Black mambas and Gaboon vipers to the large powerful non-venomous Anacondas and Burmese pythons only to mentions a few.
1. Did you know that pythons are not venomous and hunt by striking towards their prey and grapping a hold of it while curling the body around the prey and tighten the grip each time the prey exhales, suffocating it as the primary method. However they are so strong that they can break the bones of the prey item during this constriction process. Also snakes can not chew their prey thus they swallow it whole by starting from the head towards the tail in most cases. This method of swollening is done by using the modified lower jaw that is split into two parts and able to move independently by holding and pulling the food into the month. The upper jaw however is fused and also is used to hold the food in position during this process. Snakes do not dislocate their jaws but can open their month quite big and wide.
2.Also did you know that venon is a modified saliva with the main purpose to immobilize it prey and to assist with the digestion/breakdown process as venom contains certain enzymes.
The Zoo is also the home of the endangered and endemic KZN Pickergill's Reed frogs (Hyperolius pickergilli) the Zoo in partnership with Ezemvelo KZN wildlife under the aospises of the 2017 gazetted Biodiversity management plan from the Department of Environmental affairs (DEA) this small frog species that only occurs in the coast of KZN and no more that 20km from the sea in land is bred in the JHB ZOO as an insurance population. These captive bred specimens are then introduced and released back into their natural habitat to ensure the survival of the species. Numerous other species are also part of conservation projects within the JHB ZOO.