Reptile World Sepentarium

reptile-world-serpentarium

Probably the greatest attribute to the State of Florida is the climate. Not only does it make our state a tourist haven and a second home to hundreds of thousands of northern residence in winter, but it is also home to a world-renown resource that saves the lives of thousands every year. In the shadows of Disney and Universal Studios near Kissimmee there is a small block building off SR 192/441 where creatures are kept that would send the mouse scurrying for cover. Still, tourists are welcome because the Reptile World Sepentarium does so more than just show off the most deadly snakes on the planet.

Since 1972, the serpentarium has provided housing for the world’s most venomous snakes. At Reptile World, their venom is extracted through a process known as milking. The milked venom is used to produce anti-venom for snakebite victims. It is then shipped all over the world. Reptile World has been consulted by National Geographic, The Discovery Channel and The History Channel among others. It has amassed a collection of over 80 species, 50 of which are on public display and the rest reserved for anti- venom production.

Visitors to Reptile World get their money’s worth. green-mambaAdmission is modest $10 cash! For that patrons can walk the dark corridors and gaze upon the deadly reptiles. See live venom extractions twice daily or hold a non-venomous snake yourself. Signs ask that you not tap on the glass or move suddenly. I suggest adhering to the request for the safety of the animals. I simply ran my finger along the glass to get the attention of a Green Mamba. He immediately attacked and left a pool of venom streaming down the tank. I kept my hands to myself from that point.

Seeing these creatures on television does not do them justice. Their 13-foot king cobra sports a head larger than most small dogs. And that was without the hood on display! Despite the confines of their glass enclosures, I felt a sense of admiration for these beasts. While some certainly appeared intimidating like something you may encounter in a horrible nightmare, there was a grace and peacefulness to them that spoke to the purpose snakes serve on this planet. To think such simple animals survived extinction events that left most animals alive only through scientific discovery means they must be truly remarkable. Perhapking-cobras it is their simplicity that has allowed them to survive. I realized why the Egyptians held them in such high esteem. The grace and power a cobra displays without even moving a muscle is mesmerizing. It knows it can kill and yet it exercises restraint choosing instead to gaze into your eyes while you can’t take your eyes of off of his. In that moment you understand you are truly looking into the eyes of a king!

While the cobras may be the most captivating, other species also call the serpentarium home. Enjoy the brute strength of the Reticulated Python, large enough to devour a small pig. The Rainbow Boa and Albino Burmese Python offer colorful patterns that serve as a camouflage to mask their deadly power. The intimidating rattle of any of the eleven species of rattlesnakes on display is sure to send a shiver down your spine. There are obscure species like the Cantil, beautiful species like the Coral Snake and odd species like the Sidewinder Rattlesnake. Whether you’re a snake enthusiast or not, a visit to Reptile World will immerse you in a dark and deadly reality that will surely leave you with a new respect for these magnificent animals.


peteAnd now meet Pete! Pete is a 14-foot American Alligator who guards Reptile World’s slithery serpents. He is on display along with more gators, a Nile crocodile, Iguanas, Monitors, Dragons, and other creepy and crawlies. You even can watch the caretakers feed Pete! Youngsters indulge in the less treacherous and still enjoyable act of feeding… turtles.  Who doesn’t love feeding turtles? So peaceful and harmless after wandering the precarious snake-filled halls.

A Orlando attraction would not be complete without a gift shop. Reptile World has one of those too along with loads of information about the world of we try not to think about so much. If you aren’t sure or want more information about a particular species, just ask. You may even get a closer look than you ever imagined! Despite the presence of the mouse down the road, Reptile World Serpentarium has earned its place amidst Orlando’s more recognizable attractions.

 

 

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