What's New At the Zoo
Scaly Tales - Lawan!
One of our most popular exhibits by far is Lawan (pronounced LA-wan), our reticulated python.
Lawan has been a resident of the zoo since it opened in 2011. The man who donated her to us designed enclosures for large snakes for a living, and was well-versed in the care required for an animal like Lawan. He was kind enough to donate her so we could use for our exhibit and for educational purposes. In nature, reticulated pythons tend to exhibit a dark greenish brown and black pattern - Lawan's yellow coloring is known as a tiger morph. Pythons in captivity are often specially bred to exhibit a variety of colors. You will not find Lawan's coloring in a python in the wild. Reticulated pythons are native to Southeast Asia.
Lawan's size is the first thing everyone notices about her. Reticulated pythons are the longest snake species in the world, with anacondas being the heaviest. The longest reticulated python recorded in captivity measured 33 feet in length. We haven't weighed or measured her since we received her, but we estimate that she is 19 feet long and weighs near 150 pounds. We speculate that Lawan may still grow another 10 feet before she finally slows down. All snakes will grow throughout their lives, though they hit a certain length when their growth slows considerably.
We feed her a large rabbit once every two weeks. Snakes have a much slower metabolism than people, and they will typically consume a large meal once every few months. Reticulated pythons are known as ambush predators, meaning they tend to sit and wait for prey to walk by instead of hunting it. Her thick body shape in indicative of this, and can be observed on a smaller scale by comparing our sand boa (also an ambush predator) and our king snake, who has a lean body designed for seeking out and occasionally pursuing prey.
Sitting coiled and perfectly still for extended periods of time is something Lawan would be doing regularly in the wild while she waited for a large deer or pig to pass near her.
We don't quite know Lawan well enough to judge her temperament. She seems more curious than aggressive, but we still take many precautions when caring for her. The doors leading into her enclosure are padlocked and only the senior zoo keeper and curator are allowed to access it. Snakes' teeth tend to curve backward to help facilitate moving its meal down into its throat. The curved teeth also make it very difficult to spit out anything that's securely held in the snake's mouth, therefore, we tend to only clean her enclosure when she has her mouth full. We typically have about 20 minutes to clean up until she swallows her rabbit.
Lawan is easily our largest and most impressive resident. She is fortunate enough to have come to us from a good home, and she continues to thrive here while entertaining and educating our visitors. Stop by the zoo and meet Lawan!
Posted on: December 10, 2013
Feasts for the Beasts Schedule!
Nov. 26, 27, and 29 the zoo will be hosting presentations and interactive activities to teach you about reptile diets and what we feed our residents here at the zoo! Stop by and make enrichment toys for your favorite zoo friend then help our keepers prepare nutritious treats for our other animals. We will also have lessons about why a varied diet is important for people and animals alike, and feeding demos!
The feeding demo schedule is:
11 am: Carpet pythons
2 pm: Peach-throat monitor and Asian water monitor
4 pm: Sulcata tortoises
11 am: Anaconda
2 pm: Red-eared slider turtles and dwarf caiman
4 pm: Red-footed tortoise
11 am: Sulcata tortoise
All day: Snake feeding!
This event coincides with our Canned Food Drive! $1 off admission for every non-perishable food item you bring with you! (limit 2 per person). All food donations will go to Food Gatherers!
Posted on: November 25, 2013
Our First Boo at the Zoo!
We wanted to recap our spooktacular Boo at the Zoo, held on Oct. 26, and thank everyone involved in it.
You can view our Facebook photo album of the event here.
We want to give a big shout out to all our wonderful sponsors as well - we couldn't have made this event possible without them, too! They are, in no particular order:
Michael O'Quinn with Edward Jones Investments, Jim Downing with Ameriprise Financial, Colonial Lanes, Whole Foods, Ann Arbor Hands on Museum, Emergency Veterinary Hospital, Irene Felicetti's Soy Candles, Zingerman's Meijer, Lead Institute, Zal Gaz Grotto, Lexi's Toy Box, Pizza House, McDonald's, the Blast Corn Maze, Dexter Research Center, Ruhlig's Produce, and Bagger Dave's.
Boo at the Zoo helped to raise nearly $4,000 for us! We hope everyone had a good time, and we look forward to seeing you all again next year!
Posted on: November 12, 2013
- Availability: Programs can be scheduled weekdays 10am-4pm. Evening events can be scheduled upon request. Reservations are required.
- Duration: A 45-60 minute presentation is designed with your group's needs and interests in mind.
- Group Size: Please schedule for groups of approximately 30 students; schedule additional presentations for larger groups.
- Please call for pricing.
- Colorful Creatures
- Amazing Adaptations and Survival
- Animal Classifications
Posted on: November 12, 2013
Welcome to our 'What's new at the Zoo' blog
Welcome to the Great Lakes Zoological Society's 'What's New at the Zoo' blog! We'll be keeping everyone updated on happenings at the zoo like some of our events, new animals, and other things around your favorite reptile zoo.
Check back on our website, our blog page, or add it to your RSS feed for new posts! This is the place where we will announce new events, talk about cool things at the zoo, and some generally cool stuff we would like you to know.
So, keep tuned and see what neat things are to come!
Posted on: November 7, 2013